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Bush declares war on America's children


Last updated 7/26/2007 at Noon

As Bush battles Congress to keep his war going, he has just fired the opening salvo in another war – on America’s children.

If anything looked like a sure thing in the new Congress, it was that lawmakers would renew, and probably expand, the popular, decade-old State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) before it expires this year. It’s a no-brainer, right? Who’s going to balk at an established, successful program that offers health insurance for kids? As it turns out, Mr. Bush is opposed.

Bush is threatening one of his rare vetoes. At issue is $7 billion in new funding each year to help more of the nine million children in America without health insurance. This is the amount spent by Bush in just ten days for his war.

Also at issue is Bush’s ideological insistence on private insurance or no healthcare. “My concern,” he was quoted in the Washington Post, “is that when you expand eligibility…you’re really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government.”

So, is it better to preserve healthy profits of the health insurance corporations or the health of our kids? Nobody in the White House asked if we could afford an unnecessary war, but Bush insists we can’t afford healthcare for our children.

Congress has proposed funding the expanded program with a rise in cigarette taxes. Bush declared his opposition to the new tax. Only a few years ago, Republicans were proposing a new cigarette tax to fund pet pork projects. So, a cigarette tax was OK for pork but not for kids’ health?

This decade-old program is so popular that staunch opponents of public programs of any type, such as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), have urged Bush to back off his veto threat. State governors, including Schwarzenegger, have overwhelmingly endorsed renewing and expanding the program.

It is so difficult to understand how a leader can so be so isolated from the reality of America’s families and have so little compassion for our kids.

Joe Howard Crews


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