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Oct. 28, 2007

Bush's Scrooge-style agenda for children's healthcare

by Gus Woods, Online Op/Ed Editor
President Bush, in a move that even the most hardened cynics had not anticipated, vetoed a bill on Oct. 3 that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which helps state-governments provide health insurance for children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance.

Bush's decision has baffled many people. His Administration took a serious political blow for the veto, as a majority of Americans support the bill according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll, he now looks hypocritical considering his Administration's liberal spending record and, with nine million children currently uninsured, the bill seems to be a social necessity.

The President's decision to veto the SCHIP was clearly ill advised, so why did he do it? The answer is that the Bush Administration is manically and rigidly committed to a number of static ideologies that have plagued it for the past seven years. One of these rigid policies was former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "light-footprint" military strategy that still has the U.S. military stuck in Iraq. Because the Bush Administration refused to modify or even waver slightly from Rumsfeld's ideas, the U.S. military was unable to commit enough troops to defeat an entrenched insurgency or quell mounting sectarian violence in Iraq.

The same inflexible tendencies compelled Bush to reject the SCHIP bill. The Bush Administration is unwaveringly laissez-faire, pro-market and anti-tax. Convinced that these are the policies Americans prefer above all others, the Administration has refused to deviate from them. This ideological rigidity has made President Bush the most ardent supporter of profit-mad private health insurers.

One can see such delusion at work whenever Bush or his Republican allies attempt to defend their decisions. Bush has stated that he rejected the bill because an expanded SCHIP could draw children away from private coverage and that he is against healthcare becoming "federalized."

But SCHIP gives state-governments, not the federal government, the ability to provide children with health insurance. And private insurers will not be able to provide coverage for all of the country's low-income children because low-income children are not profitable. Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP and other forms of state-provided healthcare cover the people that the private sector cannot. The relationship is simple and does not just apply to healthcare, but such logic escapes our ideologically entrenched representatives in the White House and Capital Building, many of whom gun for lower taxes and the expansion of the private sector at all costs.

Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, for example, argued that the increased tax on cigarettes that would have been used to pay for the SCHIP bill would have compelled the millions of smokers in the US to eventually quit smoking, and thus deprive SCHIP of funds. A logical and realistic person would reason instead that it would actually be a good thing if millions of nicotine-addicted people miraculously quit smoking and that it would be fairly easy to find some other detrimental product to tax for the benefit of children's health.

The debate over the way in which healthcare should be managed in the U.S. has divided many people: some support increased privatization while others support universal healthcare. But is children's healthcare not an obvious social necessity? Bush's veto of the bipartisan SCHIP bill is a clear instance of delusional and illogical party pandering that few people in this country understand or want. In 2008, we need to elect someone with the capacity to make realistic and sound decisions that are not based on ideology but on what is best for the country.



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  • w tobias (View Email) on October 28, 2007 at 8:16 PM
    i say tax betting and gambling they would not mind some of there money doing good or gas tax and every year when they increse the amount they need because it will grow like all goverment run things do it will be a cash cow for all exept for the ones that need it its a good plan if you could keep the hands out of the cookey jar
  • r g ellis (View Email) on October 28, 2007 at 9:35 PM
    this is what happens when you elect a president with average intelligence. oh,
    you say, he's a harvard grad...but did you
    know mr. bush could not get into the
    university of texas. so did the ivy league
    schools relax their standards? or perhaps
    "poppy"(yale), opened his checkbook...you
    decide. the president, like many members
    in congress are phony conservatives. teddy
    roosevelt was a true conservative : pro family, pro religion, pro environment, and
    anti big business. see many like that up on
    the "hill"? it's been a golden age for big
    business the past 7 years...with no trickle
    down benefits for the middle or poorer classes.
  • Ben Flom on October 28, 2007 at 10:01 PM
    I'm not saying Bush's move was good or bad. I would just like to ask a question. If he is evil for vetoing this bill, then are the majority of all congressmen ever since congress was created evil because they never passed this bill "protecting children" before? If not, then there must be a LOGICAL REASON why this bill has never been passed before.
  • Max (View Email) on October 29, 2007 at 1:20 AM
    Bush administration is puppet of health care industry , he is doing what they want him to do simple is that, He has the guts to ask for billions of dollars of tax payers money to spend in Iraq which is going to his buddies anyways.
  • Barney (View Email) on October 30, 2007 at 11:50 AM
    Maniacal and all its derivatives is an excellent description of Bush etal. Take American tax dollars to wage war against Iraq and now Iran at the sacrifice of American children?! Why aren't the American people calling for his impeachment?
  • Libertarian 08 (View Email) on October 30, 2007 at 11:46 PM
    Sorry, first you'll bash him for a deficit, then rag on him for not spending all this money? Personally, I'd cut the healthcare of senior citizens and give it to kids first. There are kids who of no fault to themselves simply don't have healthcare. I don't agree with a national healthcare, but perhaps money could be given to these kids to get healthcare.

    To some comments, Bush is an idiot, he got a C average in college. But Bush is not the only person against SCHIP. You can say all Republicans are idiots, for that you'd be wrong. And for those who support universal healthcare, do some research into the Canadian system. Pay special attention to the fact that despite having free healthcare in Canada, lots of them cross the border to have operations and such in the US, and if you want to study medicine, the US is the place to be.
  • Captain Kidd on November 1, 2007 at 2:06 PM
    Actually, Cuba is the place to be if you want to study medicine.
  • Someone on November 1, 2007 at 7:02 PM
    What does President Bush's intelligence have to do with anything? At least he made the right decisions to get elected.
    Besides, Congress couldn't even override Bush's veto which shows that President Bush is not the only one who does not support it. Presidnet Bush any many others are merely sticking to his conservative beliefs.
    If all presidents were impeached or punished for sticking to their beliefs and platforms that got them elected, then Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, etc would have all been impeached.
    Besides, the government shouldn't control everthing. Last time I checked, the United States wasn't a socialist society.
  • Euclid on November 2, 2007 at 8:49 AM
    Libertarian, about your Canadian health care point. The reason Canadians will occasionally come over here for health care is not that our health care system is superior it is inferior - but that we have superior health technology. If you can get it, we have the best health care in the world. The problem is how hard it is to get that health care, not the quality of it once you actually get it. The Canadians who come across the border could easily get health care in their own country, they merely are seeking superior health care. In contrast, the larger amount of Americans who go to Canada for health care are seeking any health care, which they cannot get for any affordable price in the US. Universal health care is a very good thing.

    Someone, about your last paragraph. You are wrongly equating universal health care and totalitarianism. The government exists for more than to maintain the military, and one of its most important duties is to protect its people from threats, both internal and external. And keeling over dead because you can't afford health care is definitely an internal threat. It's the government's responsibility to help. As for your second to last paragraph, there's a difference. When "sticking to their beliefs" causes the deaths of thousands of their own people for no benefit aside from fueling their hubris and lining their pockets, then they'll be on level with Bush.
  • Libertarian 08 (View Email) on November 3, 2007 at 5:15 PM
    To Euclid:
    "The reason Canadians will occasionally come over here for health care is not that our health care system is superior it is inferior"

    "we have the best health care in the world"

    Please stick to your own story at least. Basically you seem to be claiming that we have better healthcare, but it's too expensive for everyone to be able to afford. The solution? Let's just force people to pay for the healthcare of everyone while the people who can afford better healthcare can now pay double for it.

    First off you are completely wrong when you say "the larger amount of Americans who go to Canada for health care". More people come from Canada to get operations, and that's a fact. Waiting times for operations is longer in Canada, that's a fact. More people come to the US to study medicine, that's a fact. Do some research then come back and you can talk.

    "The government exists for more than to maintain the military, and one of its most important duties is to protect its people from threats, both internal and external. And keeling over dead because you can't afford health care is definitely an internal threat. It's the government's responsibility to help."

    Really? Read the Constitution lately? Where is the government authorized the power to "protect its people from threats, both internal and external"? I don't remember that part.

    "When 'sticking to their beliefs' causes the deaths of thousands of their own people for no benefit aside from fueling their hubris and lining their pockets, then they'll be on level with Bush."

    Well let's see, Lincoln started a war, suspended habeas corpus, ordered the arrest of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court when he was overruled, yet is considered one of the best Presidents of all-time. Whether you agree with it or not (I do not), they are not fighting a war to line pockets or fuel hubris. We are fighting Al Quadea in Iraq, and Bill Clinton himself was quoted as saying he would attack Iraq. He broke his end of the treaty after the Gulf War, and if we had any sort of intelligence in the administration (the first Bush predicted this would happen if we removed Saddam), we may have been able to not get us into this situation. But we're where we are now, and we are certainly not fighting now for lining pockets or fueling hubris. I support getting out ASAP. We need to put pressure on Iraqi soldiers to step up, and then get our soldiers out of there. But if we leave, Iraq collapses, and then it becomes a permanent base of Al Quadea. And we DON'T want that. Wow I can't believe I'm actually defending Bush, I agree he's a stubborn idiot, but he's not the only one against universal healthcare.

    Also, national healthcare is by definition socialism, look up the definition. If you support socialized medicine that's ok, but you responded to someone, who opposed socialism, and you substituted totalitarianism. Socialism does not equal totalitarianism, learn some basic terminology please. Thank you.
  • Euclid on November 3, 2007 at 5:46 PM
    Okay. Your first pont: Individuals paying money for the good of the group is what taxes are all about. The government can't do anything if it hasn't got the money. So, people who can afford better health care now pay a bit more. The burden is not extreme. Remember, when you pay taxes, you are being helped too.

    As for your second point: I know what I'm talking about. Perhaps you're missing the distinction. America has very good health care, if you can get it. Otherwise, not so much. Of course more people come to the US to study medicine, and to get operations, because our medical technology is just that good. Of course Canada has a longer waiting line for operations, that's a natural byproduct of more people being able to get them.

    Your third point: If not the government, then who else? Laws exist to protect people from internal threats, such as a homicidal neighbor. Everything the government does, in theory, is either to protect its citizens or to increase the quality of life for them. In practice, it does get somewhat sidetracked, but that's fairly irrelevant.

    Your fourth point: Immaterial. I'm not calling them saints, though I do think you are being somewhat harsh on them. Sticking up for their beliefs did not directly lead to what you described, which is what Someone was claiming. And do you really doubt that Iraq is NOT all about money and revenge? It's somewhat off-topic, but Iraq's doomed. We really can't help it, and the best thing we can do at this point is pull out so that at least it's not us whose getting killed there. The end result will be the same for Iraq, but better for us.

    On your last point: He didn't say Totalitarian, that was what the giant flashing neon sign above his post said.
  • Libertarian 08 (View Email) on November 4, 2007 at 3:24 AM
    First point:
    Wrong, that is what happens in a socialist society (which you are advocating). Federal taxes are meant to be used to fund what is Constitutionally mandated, not to redistribute wealth and services. And people who can afford better health care now pay more? Obviously. But under a national system, not only would they pay more for the SAME EXACT service, but they would pay more because of 3 reasons if they chose to get better healthcare than the government could provide.
    1. The very nature of a system that taxes by percentage, people with more wealth, even if paying the same percentage, pay more in taxes
    2. graduated tax brackets, so they pay more than mentioned above
    3. They actually pay for the service they'll be getting, which hypothetically should be more than the government takes in taxes, but we can see how much public schools waste, so you can be sure national healthcare wouldn't be much better in terms of money.

    Second point:
    And some people can't afford a beech house, that's the way it goes. BUT, this is where I actually do somewhat support SCHIP but not national healthcare. A child has no choice how much money they are born into.

    And longer waiting line is a natural byproduct of everyone getting them? More money paid (in taxes in this case) = more money = more people you can pay = more doctors can be giving operations. Let's put it another way, their mortality rate from cancer is higher, including those in the US that can't afford healthcare.

    Third point:
    Read the Constitution, you obviously didn't last time I reccomended it. Focus especially on the 10th amendment, then go back to Article I, Section 8. You have no room to support an unconstitutional program such as this and then get on Bush for removing habeas corpus or unconstitutionally wiretapping. Note that I do oppose both of these, but at least I'm consistent.

    Fourth point:
    Immaterial? You basically said Bush was the worst President because of this war. I don't like him either, but there were plenty of pretty bad Presidents who did some of the same things he did. Look at the other recent Presidents, including Democratic Clinton, and how they invoked executive privilege just like Bush is doing. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and went a step further. Yet in your opinion the civil war was justified and this one wasn't. Explain to me exactly why those people had to die? (hint: the civil war was not fought over slavery, that was simply a selling point and a result)

    As I said, I'm no fan of President Bush, but if Lincoln can do those things and be considered one of the best Presidents of all time I can certainly see history viewing Bush favorably if we do end up in a big WWIII with Al Quadea and other terrorism. While this is more a reflection on history than it is on Bush, but that's how it is.

    And yes I do doubt that Iraq was about power and money. Do I need to give you the quotes where both Clinton and Gore stated that Saddam was violating the terms of the Gulf War treaty and needed to be removed? It was horribly planned and Bush being his stubborn self didn't consult with advisors enough, but IMO the original attack was justified.
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