Editorial Addresses Debate Over SCHIP Reauthorization Bill

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State Children's Health Insurance Program

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Summaries of an editorial and several opinion pieces that examinethe debate over legislation to reauthorize and expand SCHIP, as well asrelated issues, appear below.

Editorial

  • USA Today:"The argument between Congress and President Bush over whether toexpand health insurance for low-income children should have an easyanswer: Yes," a USA Today editorial states. Although thelegislation "isn't perfect," it is "a considerable improvement on thecurrent situation, and it has significant Republican support." Theeditorial continues, "It's disappointing that the president haspromised to veto it and mounted an aggressive campaign against it."While "the nation should have a broader debate about health policy, ...that's unlikely to produce results before the next election," theeditorial continues, concluding, "In the meantime, Congress hasproduced a reasonable compromise to keep millions of kids from fallingthrough the cracks" (USA Today, 9/27).

Opinion Pieces

  • Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times:Democratic lawmakers view the SCHIP legislation as "no-lose: Eitherlandmark health care will be enacted over President George W. Bush'sveto, or, if overridden, they'll have a lovely 2008 campaign issue,"syndicated columnist Novak writes in an opinion piece. He concludesthat if a veto override is unsuccessful, "Democrats will eagerly pummelRepublicans for 'voting against kids' by refusing to sanction a longstep toward HillaryCare" (Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/27).
  • Morton Kondracke, Roll Call:"Congressional Democrats hold the political high ground in theirbattles with President Bush over the budget and children's health --and plan to press their advantage to the hilt," Roll CallExecutive Editor Kondracke writes in an opinion piece. He continues,"The SCHIP veto reveals Bush as no compassionate conservative. And hisdeficit buildup shows him to be no fiscal conservative, either."Kondracke concludes, "Democrats used to be the tax-and-spend party andthey may be again," but "this year -- and heading into 2008 -- theycome off as the party of fiscal responsibility while the GOP is theparty of tax-and-borrow" (Kondracke, Roll Call, 9/27).
  • Mike Leavitt, USA Today:Instead of supporting Bush's tax code proposal to expand access tohealth insurance, Congress is "pushing a massive expansion" of SCHIP"that grows government without helping nearly as many children," HHS Secretary Leavitt writes in a USA Todayopinion piece. He calls current tax policy "discriminatory," adding,"If Congress acted on the president's plan, nearly 20 million moreAmericans would have health insurance." Leavitt continues, "Congressshould put politics aside and send the president a clean, temporaryextension" of SCHIP, adding, "Expanding SCHIP is not the only way orthe best way to insure the uninsured. The president's plan is better"(Leavitt, USA Today, 9/27).
  • David Broder, Washington Post:House Republicans created a "spectacle" on Tuesday by aligningthemselves with the White House against the SCHIP bill, columnistBroder writes in a Post opinion piece, adding, "Rarely doyou see so many politicians putting their careers in jeopardy." Hecalls the program "one of the most successful health care measurescreated in the past decade" and adds, "Saying no to immigration reformand measures to shorten the war in Iraq may be politically defensible,"but the Bush administration's "arguments against SCHIP ... sound hollowat a time when billions more are being spent in Iraq with no end insight" (Broder, Washington Post, 9/27).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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