October 3, 2007, the president vetoed a new SCHIP bill sent to him by Congress. (Bill can be found here)
I am going to show the radio address from this morning by the President and below that a little commentary.
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. One important commitment of the Federal government is to help America's poorest children get access to health care. Most of these children are covered by Medicaid, which will spend more than $35 billion to help them this fiscal year. For children who do not qualify for Medicaid, but whose families are struggling, we have the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.
Washington is now in the midst of an important debate over the future of this vital program. I strongly support SCHIP. My Administration has added more than 2 million children to SCHIP since 2001. And our 2008 budget increases SCHIP funding by 20 percent over five years.
Unfortunately, more than 500,000 poor children who are eligible for SCHIP coverage are not enrolled in the program. At the same time, many States are spending SCHIP funds on adults. In fact, based on their own projections for this fiscal year, Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island, and New Mexico will spend more SCHIP money on adults than they do on children. And that is not the purpose of the program.
This week, congressional leaders sent me a deeply flawed bill that would move SCHIP even further from its original purpose. Here are some of the problems with Congress's plan: Under their plan, one out of every three children who moves onto government coverage would drop private insurance. In other words, millions of children would move out of private health insurance and onto a government program. Congress's plan would also transform a program for poor children into one that covers children in some households with incomes up to $83,000. Congress's plan would raise taxes on working people. And Congress's plan does not even fully fund all the new spending. If their plan becomes law, five years from now Congress would have to choose between throwing people off SCHIP -- or raising taxes a second time.
Congress's SCHIP plan is an incremental step toward their goal of government-run health care for every American. Government-run health care would deprive Americans of the choice and competition that comes from the private market. It would cause huge increases in government spending. It would result in rationing, inefficiency, and long waiting lines. It would replace the doctor-patient relationship with dependency on bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. And it is the wrong direction for our country.
Congress knew that I would veto this bill, yet they sent it anyway. So on Wednesday, I vetoed the SCHIP bill. And I asked Members of Congress to come together and work with me on a responsible bill that I can sign -- so we can keep this important program serving America's poor children.
When it comes to SCHIP, we should be guided by a clear principle: Put poor children first. I urge Republicans and Democrats in Congress to support a bill that moves adults off this children's program -- and covers children who do not qualify for Medicaid, but whose families are struggling. If putting poor children first takes a little more than the 20 percent increase I have proposed in my budget for SCHIP, I am willing to work with leaders in Congress to find the additional money.
Ultimately, our Nation's goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage -- not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. By working together, Republicans and Democrats can strengthen SCHIP, ensure that it reaches the children who need it, and find ways to help more American families get the private health coverage they need.
Thank you for listening.
The portions I high lighted, especially that $83,000 income level number has been disputed by other politicians, which is completely intellectually dishonest because that exact figure is not in the actual bill and they count on the American public to be stupid enough not to be able do a little research and see how someone with a high income can be enrolled in a state funded insurance program.
One example New Jersey:
The Federal Poverty Level for a family of four is $20,650. Four hundred percent of $20,650 is $82,600. ("The 2007 HHS Poverty Guidelines," Accessed 9/20/07, Available At: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml)
The Senate bill states: "(B) - Exception - Subparagraph (A) [the limitation of the matching rate to the Medicaid rate for children whose effective income exceeds 300 percent of the Federal poverty level] shall not apply to any State that, on the date of enactment of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007, has an approved State Plan Amendment or waiver to provide, or has enacted a State law to submit a State plan amendment to provide, expenditures described in such subparagraph under the State child health plan."
The Senate SCHIP bill also grandfathers in New Jersey's program at 350 percent of the Federal poverty level, which includes children in families with incomes of $72,000 a year.
Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ): "Corzine added that the state, which covers about 122,000 kids in its program, known as FamilyCare, 'will continue to provide health care to children in families with income up to 350 percent' of the federal poverty level – or $72,275 for a family of four. He also wrote that he is prepared to file a lawsuit challenging the new rules." (Christopher Lee, "N.J.'s Corzine to Defy New Health-Care Rules," The Washington Post, 9/14/07)
More from that Washington Post article:
Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine informed President Bush this week that New Jersey will not obey federal rules that would make it harder to enroll middle-income kids for a popular government-subsidized health insurance program.
Everyone wants children to be covered, but a program that is set up to help low income families provide coverage for their children should not be hijacked by politicians trying to score political points by writing a bill in a way where individual states can ignore the basic concept of "low income families" and start taking from low income families so that middle income families that have private health insurance now can stop private coverage and put their children on state funded coverage.
By grandfathering in some state programs, the politicians that wrote this bill thought they could get around the public understanding of what they were doing, so that when the bill got vetoed, as it should have, they could score political points off of it.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL): "If he vetoes the bill, it's a political victory for us." (Robert Pear, "Veto Risk Seen In Compromise On Child Health," The New York Times, 9/17/07)
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD): "With a bill on its way to the president's desk by the end of next week, Democrats will be safe in blaming the White House for allowing the program to expire, according to House Majority Leader Hoyer." (Fawn Johnson, "Negotiators Strike SCHIP Deal, Agree To Slightly Modified Senate Measure," National Journal's CongressDaily, 9/19/07)
Couple facts from the Myth vs Fact sheet:
FACT: Congress is irresponsibly waiting until just before SCHIP expires on September 30 to pass a final bill they know will be vetoed. Democrats have known for months that President Bush would veto a bill like the one they intend to send him.
FACT: One of the Democrats' leaders has even said such a veto would be a "political victory." Members of Congress are putting health coverage for poor children at risk just so they can score political points in Washington.
“If the president signs the bill we present to him, it’s a major accomplishment,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “If he vetoes the bill, it’s a political victory for us. Public opinion polls show strong support for expanding kids’ health coverage.”
FACT: President Bush has called on Congress to pass a clean, temporary extension of the current SCHIP program that he can sign by September 30. The President does not believe health coverage for poor children should be held hostage while political ads are being made and new polls are being taken.
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The White House pressed lawmakers Tuesday to "at a minimum" pass a temporary extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program before it expires on Sept. 30.
In a statement of administration policy, the Office of Management and Budget repeated that President George W. Bush would veto a proposed $35 billion five-year expansion of SCHIP, which is due for a final House vote on Tuesday.
SCHIP provides health insurance for the children of working families, but the White House says the legislation takes steps toward a federalized health care system and expands the program beyond poor children into the middle class. The White House also opposes the 61-cent per pack tax increase on cigarettes that would fund the SCHIP expansion.
"It is urgent that Congress complete its work and send the president a bill he can sign before the program expires Sept. 30, 2007, or at a minimum to pass a clean, temporary extension of the current SCHIP program that he can sign by Sept. 30," OMB said.
FACT: The President has instructed HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to work with states to mitigate the resulting damage if Congress allows SCHIP to lapse.
In a piece that FaultLine USA wrote and cross posted here at Wake up America, she quotes Sweets & Light:
. . .Never mind that President Bush only vetoed a $35 billion dollar expansion of the SCHIP program. There is absolutely no reason to believe that this suddenly precious boondoggle (that most people had never even heard of before) will be eliminated. . .
. . .But just look at this exercise in objective journalism. See if you can find any mention of any possible objections to the SCHIP program. . .
Did ABC News speak to anyone except those who were benefiting from the taxpayers’ (unwitting) generosity? Did this reporter ask any hardworking families what they thought about paying for other peoples’ kids health insurance? . . .
. . .Unfortunately, every day we are fed an endless stream of execrable, agenda-driven articles like this one, masquerading as news. Articles so blatant in their purpose they would have even made Hitler or Stalin’s minions at their respective ministries of propaganda blush.
But because our watchdog media think they are serving such a noble purpose they are proud of their efforts rather than ashamed.
Of course that is exactly what they believed in Hitler and Stalin’s ministries as well.
A note to the Republican politicians that allowed themselves to be emotionally blackmailed into voting for this piece of garbage (as it is written now), shame on you for assuming the American public was too stupid to do some research and find the links proving those myth vs facts to be correct...you were too scared of being accused of "being against children" to insist the bill not have language that was misleading, you allowed the thought of those accusations to sway you into allowing higher income families to take from lower income families so that you did not have to explain terms like "grandfathered in", so instead of fighting for lower income families, you betrayed them.
A note to the Democratic politicians: You assumed that if you wrote the bill in a way where the actual figures didn't get mentioned, people going through the bill would assume you didn't allow states with their own laws to bypass the "income levels" by simple grandfathering in pre-existing laws for those states and you could pretend that you were really trying to help lower income families--- YOU UNDERESTIMATED US, once again.
A question for all the politicians, either party: Why did you not pass a temporary extension to protect the children while you idiots fought out the actual language?
Shame on all of you.
Allowing the poor children of our country to suffer so you could play some political game has got to be the lowest I have seen you get, to date.
Congress wonders why they hit the 11% approval mark, the lowest in the history of polling public opinion about Congress?
This is the type of thing that has gotten you to the bottom of your approval rating, but hey.... you still have 11 points to play with, right?
[Update] Bush is willing to compromise on amounts spent on SCHIP but not on language that will allow high income families to replace private coverage for their children with state funded coverage.
The politicians will take that language out or they will not be able to override the veto in the house, they are approximately 25 votes shy of having that ability.
[Update] There is a must read piece over at Right Truth dealing with other problems with the SCHIP bill that the president just vetoed.
This bill would provide strong incentive for individuals and employers to dump private coverage and shift these costs to the taxpayers -- at an estimated cost of $74,000 per person annually. Here in Tennessee we watched a similar stampede to state-run coverage cripple the TennCare system. Another troubling component of the bill is the removal of the proof-of-citizenship requirements for enrollment. This provision, found in Section 211 (H.R. 976), is commonly referenced as the concerted effort to allow taxpayer subsidized healthcare to illegal immigrants.
That is only a teaser, go read the entire piece by Debbie.