Vote on Kids’ Insurance Bill Sparks Commentary
Summaries of editorials and opinion pieces about the failed attempt by the House to override President Bush's veto of State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation and an alternative Republican SCHIP bill appear below.
- Charleston Gazette: "If America cannot provide medical care for less-affluent children, this nation will stand disgraced in the world community," according to a Gazette editorial. The editorial continues, "We hope Democrats in Congress quickly pass another [S]CHIP expansion, perhaps slightly less ambitious -- and conscientious" so that moderate Republicans "give it a victory margin big enough to guarantee an override of any future veto" (Charleston Gazette, 10/23).
- Dayton Daily News: Arguments by Bush and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) that SCHIP "costs too much and that it fails to put poor children first" are "overstated or simply wrong," a Daily News editorial states. Boehner, who is "at the center of debate" over SCHIP, "has delivered the necessary votes the president needed to get his way," but "he did so at the expense of uninsured Ohio children," the Daily News concludes (Dayton Daily News, 10/24).
- Lexington Herald-Leader: "You have to wonder if all the ranting against government-run health care, along with the exaggerations, distortions and outright lies, are just part of a move to deny a victory to a Democratic Congress," the Herald-Leader writes in an editorial. It continues, "What's needed are pragmatic ideas for leveraging government and private spending and our vast medical infrastructure to provide all Americans with access to regular, preventive care," concluding, "Americans should demand no less" (Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/24).
- New York Times: "If the president carries out" his veto threat of the revised SCHIP bill, "we hope congressional tacticians can find a way to enact this important measure over the adamant, ideologically driven opposition of Mr. Bush and House Republican leaders," a New York Times editorial states. The editorial continues, "The health of millions of children who lack insurance cannot be held hostage to the president's visceral distaste for government and its essential role to protect the weak, or his desire to protect the tobacco industry." The editorial concludes, "Clearly," Republicans who supported the president's first veto of SCHIP legislation and did not switch their votes on the revised version "care more about protecting their party's ideology -- they call it 'principles' -- than protecting America's children" (New York Times, 10/26).
- Palm Beach Post: "Congress will not get health care coverage to millions of children until Republicans get honest and Democrats get real," according to a Post editorial. A compromise with Republicans is necessary because covering "fewer children than the first bill would have, but covering more than the current plan does, would be a partial victory," according to the editorial, which continues, "Americans are getting tired of politicians who would rather campaign on a loss than on a partial victory" (Palm Beach Post, 10/24).
- Philadelphia Daily News: "Today, it's important to remind parents that they have a part to play in the future of SCHIP: Enroll their children, if eligible," according to a Daily News editorial. Although this "may be a counterintuitive message at a time that states are fretting that their enrollees are going to be cut from the program," Pennsylvania "is concerned that if enrollments drop because of the scary messages coming out of Washington, the state's funding, which is based on enrollments, could be cut," according to the editorial (Philadelphia Daily News, 10/25).
- Mike King, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Republicans' proposal to provide SCHIP coverage for children in families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level and tax credits to families with incomes between 200% and 300% of the poverty level "conforms to GOP ideology" but "fails as a workable policy and as a practical solution for most families at that income level," editorial board member King writes in a Journal-Constitution opinion piece. The editorial concludes that the Republican plan "retreats from a government program that has been demonstrably effective for a decade and substitutes in its place an impractical approach that jeopardizes the health of children in many families that clearly need help" (King, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/24).
- Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Last week's failed override vote "will finally open the door for new ideas and responsible negotiations between the two parties to reach a bipartisan agreement on SCHIP renewal," Price writes in a Journal-Constitution opinion piece. Price continues, "Washington Democratic leaders have been unrelenting in their attempt to frame this debate as about compassion for needy children," but the "real debate is about who controls health care decisions, families and doctors or Washington bureaucrats." According to Price, "The More Children, More Choices Act would sensibly ensure that SCHIP goes to America's neediest children first, while expanding private, personal care for millions more children -- and all without any tax increases" (Price, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/24).
- Hoppy Kercheval, Charleston Daily Mail: "Despite what you will read in the press releases and hear in the sound bites, no child now eligible for SCHIP is going to lose their health care," Kercheval, host of TalkLine, writes in a Daily Mail opinion piece. Kercheval continues that "once the hyperbole dies down, perhaps reasonable congressmen can sit down and come to agreement with the White House on how to keep the original SCHIP program going," concluding, "Now that would be for the good of 'the children.'" (Kercheval, Charleston Daily Mail, 10/23).
- Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), Charlotte Observer: The SCHIP bill would "hit North Carolina harder than any other state with a tax that will hurt our economy and cost us jobs," Hayes writes in an Observer opinion piece. Hayes concludes, "I want quality health care for our children. I support the SCHIP program. I don't support a tax that devastates North Carolina's economy and forces us to pay the tab for the rest of the nation" (Hayes, Charlotte Observer, 10/25).
- Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Bush's veto of SCHIP legislation -- "an action backed up by loyal House Republicans -- had the same defensive, bitter sense of we'll-show-them-a-thing-or-two" as when Senate Republicans rejected legislation that would have "provided a path to citizenship for some young undocumented immigrants," columnist Robinson writes in the Post. According to Robinson, "The Republican Party has to be aware of the polls showing how concerned Americans are about the health insurance crisis. It has to be betting that the act of saying no -- in what looked like a fit of andropausal pique -- would play better with voters, perhaps subliminally" (Robinson, Washington Post, 10/26).
This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.