Category Archives: SCHIP

>Democrats At Work, National Edition

>This is what happens when Democrats are in charge. Via Josh Marshall:

With No Bush Veto Threat, Six Republicans Switch From ‘No’ to ‘Yes’ on SCHIP

By Elana Schor – January 14, 2009, 3:42PM

The House just passed a $33 billion reauthorization and expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a.k.a. SCHIP, the legislation that Democrats tried in vain to expand last year only to meet with two vetoes from George Bush.

But now that Bush is gone, and there’s no more president to protect, it seems that a few Republicans feel they’re ready to support children’s health care. Comparing today’s House vote count to the roll-call vote in 2007, when Democrats came within about 13 votes of overriding Bush’s veto. (There was another override vote that year, and a second in 2008, with similar near-miss outcomes.)

GOP Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), Mike Rogers (AL), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), and Thaddeus McCotter (MI) — a member of Republican leadership who got picketed over his previous votes on SCHIP — all voted yes today after voting against expanding the health care program under Bush.

What happened, guys? Was it Obama’s post-partisan outreach that did it for you?

Maybe someone reminded them that children were once fetuses.

Even better, this was passed without Michelle Malkin snooping through anyone’s trash cans.

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Filed under SCHIP

>Another SCHIP Family Smeared

>Stalkin’ Malkin and her merry band of Malkintents* are at it again, smearing 2-year-old Bethany Wilkerson just as they did Graeme Frost.

It would be one thing to write this off as the unhinged rantings of the loony right, except that it appears where SCHIP is concerned (and probably other issues, too), they are acting as the goon squad for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office.

If you don’t know Bethany’s story by now then I urge you to follow the links above. The purpose of this post is to call attention to Joan Walsh’s coverage, which highlights the broader implications of the SCHIP smears–issues that got lost in the Graeme Frost “Freeper stalkergate” sideshow.

As Walsh and others have noted, right-wing bloggers have painted themselves into a pretty corner on this one. They got the issue wrong and in the process were exposed as a bunch of blind GOP attack dogs ready to set their teeth into whichever victim the GOP leadership set before them. Walsh writes:

The particular way the wingnuts have come at the SCHIP debate — demonizing the families of kids who are using it — shows how little they understand the way the ground has shifted beneath them. No one is saying the parents of Graeme Frost or Bethany Wilkerson are poor; SCHIP isn’t for the poor. It’s for working families having a hard time finding affordable health insurance. Defining which families, at what income level, are eligible is up to the states. (Remember when conservatives used to like leaving things up to the states?) I don’t want to stigmatize people on welfare, or set up a category of people who are “more deserving” of government help, but since right-wingers tend to think that way, let me spell it out: SCHIP is overwhelmingly used by the children of working parents whose jobs don’t offer health insurance. The children of people on welfare are eligible for Medicaid. Reasonable people can disagree about the income level at which SCHIP eligibility should be phased out, but Bush and his supporters are lying when they say they oppose the expansion bill because it neglects low-income families; in fact it prioritizes enrolling low-income families, and would eliminate support for less-disadvantaged families in states that don’t target the lowest income.

This has left the right-wingers with a pretty bizarre argument: the Frost family was supposed to sell their house to pay for their children’s hospitalization and then live out of their car; the Wilkersons shouldn’t have “chosen” to have kids. But wait, I thought “It’s a child, not a choice!”

The attack dogs on the right are going down in flames on this one, and they know it. Sounding the “socialized medicine!” alarm isn’t working because that’s saying the current system with insurance companies and HMOs is working so well … which we all know it’s not. Arguing that SCHIP keeps the poor, beleaguered insurance companies from making enough money isn’t exactly a winner, but it’s not even true: most states contract with private insurance companies to administer their CHIP programs. In Tennessee, for example, CoverKids, our SCHIP program, is administered by BlueCross BlueShield.

So what we’re left with is an argument against helping children and for corporate welfare. Hmm, not exactly a winner. The rabid attack dogs of the right are going after 2-year-olds so viciously because they hope we won’t notice their empty argument in the ensuing skirmish. This has worked in the past numerous times, but it won’t work now because this is an issue that hits home for far too many American families

So, keep it Malkin-Coulter-Limbaugh-etc. etc. You dig your grave deeper with every smear.

* “Malkintents” term coined by a group of Atriots at Eschaton who are far cleverer than me. Used by permission.

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Filed under right-wing hate, SCHIP

>SCHIP Update

>Just a quick word about the children’s healthcare bill expanding SCHIP, which President Bush vetoed this morning. Both of Tennessee’s Republican senators voted for the bill; both of Tennessee’s Republican senators voted for children’s healthcare.

Good for them. I called both Sen. Alexander and Sen. Corker’s offices to thank them and asked if they planned to stand behind their votes with a veto override. Sen. Alexander’s office said yes. Sen. Corker’s office said he had not made a statement yet.

Please take a moment to call both senators and ask them to stand by their original votes and join in a veto override:

Lamar Alexander — D.C.: (202) 224-4944; (although his office has been busy and I hear there were fires in the Dirksen restroom so you might try his Nashville office: (615) 736-5129)

Bob Corker — Phone:  202-224-3344

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Filed under SCHIP, Sen. Bob Coker, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Why Does Bush Hate Our Children?

>Before going on break, Democrats and Republicans in Congress joined together in a rare display of unity to expand a successful children’s health care program, SCHIP.

And President Bush not only wants to veto the legislation, he’s making it harder for millions of kids to access existing state programs:

The Bush administration, engaged in a battle with Congress over whether a popular children’s health insurance program should be expanded, has announced new policies that will make it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children.

New administrative hurdles, which state health officials were told about late last week, are aimed at preventing parents with private insurance for their children from availing of the government-subsidized State Children’s Health Insurance Program. But Democrats and children’s advocates said that the announcement will jeopardize coverage for children whose parents work at jobs that do not provide employer-paid insurance.

Unconscionable.

Atrios links to this point-by-point rebuttal of each lame Bush Administration excuse for attacking SCHIP. The lamest of all, IMHO, is the argument that SCHIP causes families to drop their private insurance.

First of all, so what? Personally, I think private health insurance is a scam. It might not have started out that way, but as it exists in 2007, it’s an anti-people boondoggle. We pay our health insurance premiums every month, only to have to beg, borrow and steal to get these assholes to pay up every time we go to the doctor. I’m sick of it. They love to take our money for premiums but they sure don’t want to pay anything out when they’re supposed to, do they? In any other business it would be called fraud. For insurance companies, it’s good business.

But the Bush Administration has completely overstated the problem of a big, bad government program competing with the poor innocent insurance companies. Because for one thing, virtually every state contracts with private insurance agencies to implement these government programs. You know, like how BlueCross BlueShield of TN administers CoverTN and the state’s SCHIP program, CoverKids. It’s not like they aren’t getting their piece of the pie.

Personally, I think the real reason the Bush Administration wants to cut SCHIP is simple: it’s all about politics. They’re just allergic to anything that carries the tiniest whiff of government-provided health care, aka, the evil “socialized medicine” (cue scary music here). If SCHIP is a success, then people might say, “Look! It works! Why can’t we have something like this for everyone?”

And lord knows, we can’t have that.

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Filed under health insurance, healthcare, President Bush, SCHIP