February 19, 2008

Bush Vetoes Health Care Coverage to Protect the Poor (he claims)

By Rebecca DePaoli [POL 301D-Spring 2008]

This is an editorial intended for people reading a daily newspaper. It has a leftist bias; however, it is informative about a health care issue.

On October 18, 2007, the House of Representatives failed to override the President’s veto that denied health care to under-privileged children. Thirteen votes shy of the two-thirds majority vote needed to override a Presidential veto, the House proved to be ineffective in the fight for children’s health care. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created under the Clinton Administration for children whose parents earned too much to be eligible for Medicaid, yet who made too little to able to afford private insurance. Since its creation in 1997, SCHIP has been responsible for providing means to health care to approximately six million children in the United States.

In September of 2007, the United States Congress passed a bill that would expand SCHIP in order to cover four million more children by 2012. In order to finance this broadening, $35 billion would be needed in addition to SCHIP’s current cost projections of $25 billion, totaling $60 billion over the next five years. This extra funding would stem from a national cigarette tax increase of 61 cents per pack.

Even though this plan seems like a no brainer, President Bush vetoed the expansion in the name of “poor kids”. He argued that the new legislation will focus on middle class children, leaving poorer children behind. This is simply not true. First, poor children are not and never were covered by SCHIP, but by Medicaid and secondly, the expansion of SCHIP would only cover more children, not less. If the family qualifies for the coverage granted by SCHIP, they will receive it; it is not a zero sum game.

It is extremely unethical for the President to be playing politics with the lives of American children. Children need annual visits to physicians and dentists and the government should be pushing for preventative medicine rather than reactive. If children are able to have check ups, it will be less likely uninsured children will have to visit emergency rooms for illnesses, this will ultimately decrease private insurance premiums for other Americans.

President Bush also stated that the bill would cost too much. Yes, a President who is willing to spend $2 billion a week or around $520 billion over the next five years on an unsubstantiated war, is unwilling to protect his country’s own youth for a mere $60 billion in the same time period. This is a great way to show fiscal constraint.

Perhaps the boldest reason President Bush gave to rationalize his heartless veto was that he was protecting the country against socialized medicine. He believes that the private sector should control the health care system in America and why not, they have been doing a great job up until now. What is really driving our American health care system is greed, by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. They care more about profits than they do about children whose parents simply cannot afford proper medical treatment. It’s capitalism at its worst.

Why then, do you ask did the House of Representatives not override the veto? The House Republicans stuck with their party line of fiscal conservatism and a free market economy. They were not able to see past their political agendas toward the helpless children begging for an answer.

1 comment:

Demos said...

Sure, if you think health care should be a privilege instead of a right, vote accordingly this November. And, don't give a damn... the private companies will take care of us! See how nicely the oil companies have been treating us!