The State Children's Health Insurance Program was created by the federal government in 1997 to provide medical insurance coverage for children of families with annual incomes too large to qualify for Medicaid but too small to afford private insurance. The legislation currently insures more than six million children who would otherwise lack coverage. An individual is eligible until age 18 if his or her family income is above Medicaid thresholds but below a total income of $41,300 for a family of four.
The original legislation expired on September 30 and required reauthorization. The Senate and House quickly agreed on a compromise to continue SCHIP by large margins as well as to increase funding to enhance the efficacy of the program.
As promised, President Bush vetoed the legislation Wednesday, calling the proposal fiscally irresponsible and an attempt to "federalize medicine." This from a president who has been one of the most profligate spenders in history. The fact is that this veto is yet another example of his administration's never-ending efforts to ignore the truth for the sake of promoting misguided ideological principles.
SCHIP has been successful. Enrollees in SCHIP have been demonstrated to have improved access to higher quality health care. But facts didn't matter enough to Bush as he killed a bipartisan bill. However facts should matter to members of Congress who have the power to override his veto, as a very good editorial in the October 6 Kansas City Star argued. The main point is that "the chronically underfunded 10-year-old SCHIP has made remarkable inroads. It has reduced by a third the uninsurance rate of low-income children whose families don't qualify for Medicaid but can't afford private insurance." As the editorial concludes, "President Bush's veto should not stand. Lawmakers who voted 'no' should reconsider and help override it. If they use the facts as a guide, they will."
Bush is expecting House conservatives to sustain his veto. But significant political pressure--if not reason and morality--can undermine his hopes. Kids might have something to say about it too, as a new video produced by the Campaign for America's Future makes amusingly clear. Watch the video and click here to learn the facts about SCHIP.
Then, go to CAF's action page and send a message to your Representative in the House imploring him/her to stand up for our kids, stand up to George Bush, and override the veto.