Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rahm Emanuel Says The President Is Flip-Flopping On SCHIP

If you follow this blog you know I have been writing regularly on the reauthorization of SCHIP which provides health care for children who live in families with annual incomes two or three times the poverty rate. The rates vary from state to state based on state authorizations and exemptions. Early on the Democrats proposed a very ambitious plan that would expand SCHIP coverage to children without health insurance living in families with incomes 4 times poverty and in other ways. That plan would cost an additional 50 billion over 5 years. The house passed a version of that initial proposal. The initial proposal ran into problems in the Senate, which is poised to pass a compromised plan that would cost an additional 35 billion over 5 years to be funded by an increase in the tobacco tax. The President initially threatened a veto, then backed off. After consultation with administration ideologues and conservative belief tankers, the President again threatens to veto the compromise bill saying that he believes it would encourage people to drop health insurance. KaiserNetwork.Org has a pretty good summary of the President's position.

Rep. Rahm Emanual just posted short comment on the Hill's Congress Blog. According to Emanuel

Republicans and Democrats in Congress and Governors throughout our nation agree: no child in our nation should ever go without health care. Now, this Congress has the chance to make a down payment on this goal. But one man is standing in the way. President Bush is the lone obstacle separating 9 million children from the health care they deserve. The President’s political posturing won’t heal a sick child or give comfort to a worried parent. Congress is fighting to give kids the care they need. Now it’s time for the President to make our children his top priority.
It's pretty clear that if the President does veto the compromise bill, given its bipartisan support, it is entirely possible his veto will be overridden and he will be denied a chance to claim SCHIP reauthorization as part of his legacy. If he vetoes the bill and the veto stands, millions of poor kids will be denied health care. That will lead directly to a crisis many Republicans, especially governors, running for reelection will find very difficult to survive.

According to Daniel Shorr the President's motivations are essentially ideological. Apparently, like the Stalinists and Maoists of the last century, the President is more than willing to sacrifice the lives of children on the alter of his ideology. At bottom ideologues, be they members of the Politburo or members of the Heritage Foundation, are always willing to sacrifice somebody else's child if necessary to impose their beliefs on society.