President Bush Renews Vow To Veto Children’s Health Insurance Bill
President Bush on Wednesday restated his intention to veto legislation that would reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, McClatchy/Contra Costa Times reports (Hall, McClatchy/Contra Costa Times, 8/9).
Senate legislation, approved last week, would reauthorize SCHIP and increase the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents per pack to boost funding for the program by $35 billion over five years. The House version, also approved last week, would reduce payments to Medicare Advantage plans and increase the federal cigarette tax by 45 cents per pack to increase funding for SCHIP by $50 billion over five years. The House bill also would make a number of revisions to Medicare (California Healthline, 8/6).
Bush has proposed a $5 billion increase over five years for SCHIP, which would raise the program's total five-year funding to $30 billion (California Healthline, 7/31).
Bush in an interview said, "If SCHIP is used to expand the nationalization of health care, I will veto it." The House and Senate versions must be reconciled before Bush can veto the measure (McClatchy/Contra Costa Times, 8/9).
- Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Philadelphia Daily News: Bush "has a choice" to "follow through with his callous threat to veto" SCHIP legislation, "compromising the health care of millions of children, or he can recognize that Congress is responding with a common-sense solution to meet the concerns of American families," Schwartz writes in a Daily News opinion piece (Schwartz, Philadelphia Daily News, 8/9).
- Wall Street Journal: The "good news" in the debate over SCHIP "is that the House legislation is so egregious that it barely passed 225-204, and ... Bush has promised to veto a major expansion of the SCHIP program," according to a Journal editorial. It concludes, "Democrats think they have a political winner in the guise of helping 'children,' but the House bill shows that their higher priority is expanding government" (Wall Street Journal, 8/9).