Boundless Health Care Chutzpah

Unbelievable. The President pleads for the nation’s kids. From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush challenged Democrats on Thursday to renew a popular children’s health insurance program, accusing lawmakers of ”putting poor children at risk so they can score political points in Washington.”

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program is set to expire Sept. 30. Democrats are pushing for a $35 billion spending increase for SCHIP, and Bush has threatened to veto it. He has proposed a $5 billion increase.

The president urged lawmakers to send him a simple extension of the program if both sides cannot agree on the terms of a new measure.

”If they fail to do so, more than a million children could lose health coverage,” Bush said at a press conference. ”Health coverage for these children should not be held hostage while political ads are being made and new polls are being taken.”

So let’s see. President Bush has been waging a war of words and administrative straightjacketing against SCHIP for months, but Congress is the hostage-taker. How many more impossible things before breakfast can he expect the public to believe?

SCHIP is a state-federal partnership designed to provide health coverage to families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private coverage. More than 6 million people, primarily children, participate.

Bush said he opposed the Democrats’ proposal because it would encourage states to extend health coverage to middle-income families now using private insurance.

”I believe this is a step toward federalization of health care,” Bush said.

States have flexibility to set eligibility criteria for participants. New York, for example, recently applied to expand coverage to families whose incomes are up to four times the federal poverty level — $68,680 for a family of three. However, the administration rejected New York’s proposal.

And again, the Bush bottom line. Federal money is for war and for no-bid contracts for your cronies, not for health care. The American people are profit-fodder for private insurance, bro, and don’ you fergit it!

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