On so-called philosophical grounds, President Bush opposes health care for children. A bipartisan group of Senators want to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $60 billion over five years, covering 3.3 million additional low-income children. Bush will only except half of that, saying "when you expand eligibility…you’re really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government."
So the President is for children’s healthcare–as long as we don’t spend too much on it and private insurance companies reap the benefits. Anything less will prompt a White House veto.
That came as news to conservative Republicans Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, cosponsors of the Senate’s bill. "It’s disappointing, even a little unbelievable, to hear talk about Administration officials wanting a veto of a legislative proposal they haven’t even seen yet," Hatch and Grassley said on July 12th. In a follow-up release yesterday, they called the President’s proposal a "non-starter."
[UPDATE: The Senate Finance Committee voted 17-4 today to reauthorize and expand SCHIP, in defiance of Bush.]
This is what Bush’s presidency has been reduced to: vetoing legislation to help poor children.
SCHIP is not the only successful government program Bush opposes. "I believe government cannot provide affordable health care," he said yesterday. I guess he forgot Medicare and Medicaid.