Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nancy Pelosi and The Democrats Surrender On SCHIP -- Merry Christmas

Faced with the need to get out of town to shop for luxury Christmas gifts for their families, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress betrayed millions of working class children by formally surrendering to the Republicans on SCHIP. The bill they passed yesterday essentially maintains the status quo until March 2009. Given inflation the bill really reduces over all SCHIP benefits.

According to NPR's All Things Considered.

The Democratic-led Congress on Wednesday officially waved the white flag of surrender on its top domestic issue: the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. Eleven months and two presidential vetoes after vowing to expand its reach, the House instead passed and sent to President Bush a bill that will essentially continue the program in its current form until 2009.

Democrats had little choice in the matter. With Christmas fast approaching, they were in a fix. They had two health funding emergencies. First, temporary funding for SCHIP — whose authorization technically expired Oct. 1 — was about to run out once again. Second, on Jan. 1, a 10 percent cut in pay to doctors under Medicare was set to take effect — something Democrats, Republicans and the Bush administration agree shouldn't be allowed to happen.

But President Bush and Republicans had nixed most of the ways Democrats wanted to pay for either the Medicare changes or the SCHIP expansion. That basically gave Republicans the upper hand, and left the majority Democrats with little more to do than fume.

"What we have before us gives the lowest common denominator a bad name," said Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee. "It shows the Republicans in their truest form: Help the rich at the expense of the poor and deny government services to anyone and only help the profit industries who pay them so generously through their campaign contributions."

And, adding insult to injury, Republicans insisted on continuing SCHIP at its current funding levels not just until September — as Democrats had wanted — but until March 2009, four months after the November 2008 elections.
All things considered we don't just need more Democrats, we need better Democrats.

Nancy, I hope you have fun going to all those swank shops in San Francisco. I wonder how many kids will die because you just had to get out of town for Christmas.