Wednesday, October 03, 2007

President Bush Says CHIP is Too Expensive

Most of you know by now that President Bush has vetoed the expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP created a bridge between Medicare and standard health insurance programs. It was designed (by a Republican dominated congress when it first went into effect, BTW), to help those people who were making more money that was allowed to get medical help through Medicare, but didn't make enough money that they could really afford the health insurance offered through their employers, or were working for employers who didn't offer health insurance.

Bush said he vetoed the bill because it was a step toward "federalizing" medicine and that this bill expanded the program beyond its main focus on helping poor children.

The reactions have been mostly unsurprising. The Democrats quickly condemned the veto and several Republicans upheld it. What was a surprise was that several Republicans, including my own Utah State Senator Orrin Hatch, joined the democrats in their disdain for the veto. "It's unfortunate that the president has chosen to be on what, to me, is clearly the wrong side of this issue," he said.

While I understand at least some of the undercurrents against this bill, such as expanding care to the children of illegal immigrants and the increase in the amount of money going to fund it, I do not agree with them. I don't think we should penalize a child for the illegal activities of its parents. Out of pure humanitarian concern, we should help these kids. I also think there are plenty of places we could cut the budget so we could afford to pay for something so important.

Because this was a bi-partisan bill, I hope it can be overturned. It looks very possible in the Senate, but not so much in the House. They need 15 Republicans in Congress to change their minds before it goes back to a vote. Fortunately, the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), said he won't bring it up for a vote until next week. That just might give them time to get the needed votes.

Things like this make me happy there are so many checks and balances built into our system of government.

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