$120 Billion/Year For Iraq, Squat For Kids Health Care
At a time when Bush has no problem blowing $10 billion a month on his war of choice in Iraq, he is telling Congress that he will veto any reauthorization of the kids health insurance program, SCHIP, that goes beyond an increase of $5 billion over five years. Yet a bipartisan group of senators, including Orrin Hatch and Charles Grassley are in disbelief that the White House makes such threats at a time when they and Max Baucus and Jay Rockefeller have hammered out a reauthorization package that is funded by an increase in cigarette taxes and which not only funds the current program but also expands coverage for another 3.3 million kids. Their efforts have the support of governors of both parties, and also refocus the program back to its primary mission, which was to provide health care to uninsured school age children.
And yet Bush will veto this bipartisan bill because it spends more than he wants on kids, and because he thinks it is a step towards government run health care. Bush wants Congress to pass his tax break proposals for health care instead, an approach that even Hatch and Grassley say is unrealistic and inadequate to the challenge.
An SCHIP expansion was one of the more popular items on the Democrats' 2007 agenda, so if Bush wants to sink the GOP next year with a veto this year against kids while he shovels money to his defense and healthcare campaign contributors, that's fine with me.