Anyone who thinks that someday, Republicans facing electoral disaster in 2008 will somehow "come to their senses" and march up to the White House en masse
to tell the President that his reign of terror is over, that they will suddenly break from Bush, really needs to get a load of this one
. It appears that the Republican leadership is willing to do whatever it takes to... block health care for children. Why? Because their President says so.
There's all you need to know.
Republican leaders of the House and Senate on Tuesday attacked proposals that call for a major expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to be financed with higher tobacco taxes.
“Republicans will fight these proposals,” said the House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio.
In an unexpected turn of events, the top two Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Trent Lott of Mississippi, said they opposed a bipartisan bill that the Senate Finance Committee approved last week and would offer an alternative on the Senate floor.
This isn't just one of those "bipartisan bills" that's called bipartisan because it got one wayward opposition party vote. It passed the Finance Committee 17-4
. And it did so because anyone who's looked at the issue understands that S-CHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, is one of the most successful government initiatives of the last several years, so much so that states are looking to expand the coverage to cover more and more children in anticipation of the additional funding.
The program works. Preventive children's health care is probably the cheapest kind you can find, and the savings in emergency room and urgent care costs are enormous. In addition, we're talking about CHILDREN, and ensuring that they are cared for is abour the most pro-family idea you can possibly muster. For this and a bunch of other reasons, expansion of S-CHIP is wildly popular. I mean like 84 percent to 11 percent
kind of popular.
And the only reason that the President has offered against it is one on ideological grounds
; that if you start covering children, people might start to get the nutty idea that health care is a right and not a privilege, and pretty soon THEY'LL want some juicy health care of their own:
“[T]he program is going beyond the initial intent of helping poor children,” Bush said in a speech July 10. “It’s now aiming at encouraging more people to get on government health care.”
Bush did not specifically say he would veto the Finance Committee’s deal on SCHIP renewal but said, “I’ll resist Congress’ attempt to federalize medicine.”
And the Republican Bush defenders have decided to go along with this line of argument. Here's House Minority Leader and part-time used-car salesman John Boehner:
“Dragging people out of private health insurance to put them into a government-run program is ‘Hillary care’ come back.”
Yes, those uninsured children are going to be kicking and screaming as they are "dragged into" a public health care plan. Oh wait, they're screaming because their impetigo
hasn't been treated.
In fact, S-CHIP is offered as a voluntary alternative to a private plan for those who qualify. Nobody is forced into it, it's simply an option. And because it's a successful option, and because it's coming from the government, Republicans want to shut it down. Because the greatest evil they can possibly think of is a successful government program. It upsets all of their theories about government being the problem. Americans are on record as being willing to pay more in taxes in return for services. They actually don't need to pay much more at all; many services are already in place which can provide quality medical care, for example, at an affordable rate.
This is clearly about denying Democrats a victory
and making sure no American gets the idea that government can offer a helping hand to those in need.
Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado, a leading proponent of the House bill, said: “For the longest time, I was mystified why Republicans would oppose expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to kids who are eligible but not enrolled. Now I realize. They are trying to deny us a political victory. They want to be able to say that Democrats can’t get anything done.
“Unfortunately,” Ms. DeGette said, “Republicans are pursuing this strategy on the backs of poor children.”
Let's be very clear about what's going on. Republicans want to DENY HEALTH CARE TO POOR CHILDREN. That's their specific intent. This is how far-reaching the strategy of ensuring no legislative movement from the Democratic Congress is. It is certainly having an impact on the nation; check out Congress' approval ratings and the public's frustrations. But right here is the reason. The Republican leadership doesn't want anything to pass this Congress, and they would rather ELIMINATE A SUCCESSFUL CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM than do the right thing.
If Democrats can't make hay out of this, I don't know what they can do. This is served up on a silver platter.
There's more at MyDD
. Time to start edjumucating the public on this one, folks.
Labels: Congress, health care, John Boehner, obstructionism, Republicans, SCHIP