There is no excuse for not allowing a child the right to quality medical care.
President George W. Bush has used his fourth veto ever in office to do just that. To some it may look like the president is getting more involved with domestic government.
But in all actuality, Bush vetoed the expansion of a health care program that could have changed the lives of millions of children.
The veto blocked the continuation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. The SCHIP program is a collaboration between the federal and state governments and provides health insurance to children in families who make too much for Medicaid eligibility but not enough to afford private insurance.
Children who are in need of health insurance are the ones who will be disadvantaged because of the veto. Parents who would have qualified for this program will now have to continue to pay for their children’s medical costs out of pocket.
President Bush argues the bill is too expensive and will encourage those who can be covered privately to switch to the government-run program.
Instead of increasing the budget for SCHIP to $35 billion, the president only wants a $5 billion increase. Funding for this program would be taken from an increase on the federal cigarette tax from $.61 to $1.
An analysis from the Urban Institute found that about 70 percent of children who would benefit from SCHIP are in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. It is only the other 30 percent that the president has focused on to justify his veto.
In the U.S., the majority is supposed to get consideration, even if it is the majority of a minority.
When are we going to commit to the amount we need to spend on children? Millions of dollars get pumped into a failing education plan and not enough goes to keep these children healthy to be present in school.
Currently, all the U.S. can say to a child in need of insurance is, Tough cookies, kid; your parents make too much to get you Medicaid and not enough to get you privatized – good luck with your next bout with the flu.
While the president is asking for another substantial raise in his Iraq spending bill, another child gets left behind.