Just when I thought King George and his court couldn't surprise me...
Just when I thought I'd seen every hideously stupid thing they could do...
Just when I thought there was something so obviously right that they couldn't possibly oppose it...
Well, now the New York Times tell us that Bush Is Prepared to Veto Bill to Expand Child Insurance:
WASHINGTON, July 14 — The White House said on Saturday that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, drafted over the last six months by senior members of the Senate Finance Committee. The vow puts Mr. Bush at odds with the Democratic majority in Congress, with a substantial number of Republican lawmakers and with many governors of both parties, who want to expand the popular program to cover some of the nation’s eight million uninsured children.
The vow puts Mr Bush at odds with anyone with the common sense of a small rock.
But first, let me point out one thing that bothers me in the article:
“The Senate will not be deterred from helping more kids in need,” Mr. Baucus said. “The president should stop playing politics and start working with Congress to help kids, through renewal of this program.”OK, look, that's a tired argument for both sides to use. The fact is that the president, congress, and everyone else up there “play politics” with everything; it's what they do. Let's stop trying to pretend otherwise. That said, the president should get some sense into his stupid, thick head and help kids, through renewal of this program. And make progress toward a proper health-care system.
And what are the arguments against the program? It seems there are two:
The new spending would be financed by an increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco products. The tax on cigarettes would rise to $1 a pack, from the current 39 cents. Mr. Fratto, the White House spokesman, said, “Tax increases are neither necessary nor advisable to fund the program appropriately.”
“The proposal would dramatically expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, adding nonpoor children to the program, and more than doubling the level of spending,” Mr. Fratto said. “This will have the effect of encouraging many to drop private coverage, to go on the government-subsidized program.”
For the first, this idea that all tax increases are bad is ridiculous. There are good reasons to use tax increases to fund programs. This is one of them. Ah, but King George wouldn't want to hurt his buddies in the tobacco industry, would he? No, this isn't the part that surprises me.
The second is the part that makes my head spin, that amazes me in a way I thought I could no longer be amazed. Increasing funding for the program will help it cover “nonpoor children”, encouraging families to use the program. This is bad? Making sure that children are covered by health insurance is bad? OK, the guy and his “senior advisors” are officially off their collective tree. In a way, it's like the tax issue: the Emperor doesn't want to hurt his buddies in the insurance industry by giving parents a way to use a public program instead of buying insurance from them.
We should be covering every child — and every adult too, but we have to start somewhere. Parents should not have to choose whether to give their children food... or health care. And anyone who thinks that all “nonpoor children” have adequate health coverage is so sadly misinformed as to be entirely unqualified to be in a leadership position.
But that part is certainly not news.
Update, 12:00: Here's an item relating to this from the Common Dreams web site.