Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
As President Bush vows to veto a bill expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Marian Wright Edelman says Washington must do far more to help the nation’s children and to truly leave no child behind. [includes rush transcript]
The Senate is expected to vote this week on a bill that would extend health insurance to more than three million low-income children. Earlier this month senators reached a bipartisan agreement to add thirty-five billion dollars to the Children’s Health Insurance Program over the next five years by increasing federal taxes on cigarettes. The extra funding would help cover some of the nation’s nine million uninsured children as well as some adults with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but not high enough to afford private insurance. A new poll released Monday from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families shows 91% of Americans support expanding SCHIP to cover more children. It even has bi-partisan support in Congress, and approval — if tepid — from major pharmaceutical and insurance groups.It sounds like a no-brainer. But there’s one obstacle: President Bush has vowed to veto the bill. Speaking last week at a health care forum in Maryland, he explained why.
- President Bush: “I believe government cannot provide affordable health care. I believe it would cause — it would cause the quality of care to diminish. I believe there would be lines and rationing over time. If Congress continues to insist upon expanding health care through the S-CHIP program — which, by the way, would entail a huge tax increase for the American people — I’ll veto the bill.”
President Bush wants to cut the proposed increase by $30 billion, keeping it to just $5 billion. Marian Wright Edelman is President and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. She is a veteran attorney long involved in civil rights causes. She joins me from Washington, DC.
- Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.