Editorials Address Efforts To Expand, Reauthorize SCHIP

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State Children's Health Insurance Program

Summaries appear below of several recent editorials, opinion piecesand a letter to the editor that examine the recent presidential veto of legislation that would have reauthorized and expanded SCHIP and the House's failed attempt to override the veto.

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Editorials

  • Albany Times Union:"The all too shrill rhetoric in Congress, and worse, from the WhiteHouse, has been that SCHIP covers families who don't need it," a Times Unioneditorial states. However, that "ignores the inconvenient andunpleasant possibility that in America, ... the median income might notbe enough to afford" health coverage, the Times Unionwrites, adding, "Congress needs to pass another SCHIP bill in theaftermath of Mr. Bush's veto and the unsuccessful attempt to overrideit. It needs to recognize that the eligibility for SCHIP needs to besubstantially higher than $41,300 a year" (Albany Times Union, 10/20).
  • Bergen Record:Supporters of SCHIP reauthorization and expansion "are promisinganother bill that will either extend the program temporarily or try fora compromise that the president can accept," the Recordwrites in an editorial, adding, "Either way, millions of real childrenwill be left uninsured -- because of an ideological battle and a hollowvictory" (Bergen Record, 10/21).
  • Charlotte Observer: "It's time to stop playing politics" with SCHIP, an Observereditorial states. "The president's advisers say they want to findcommon ground with Congress on this matter. Given that the vetoed billwas bipartisan, they don't have to look far," the editorial adds (Charlotte Observer, 10/19).
  • Memphis Commercial Appeal:"There are obvious problems with the approach suggested by HouseSpeaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to confront the president with another'non-negotiable' bill adding 10 million children to the rolls,"according to a Commercial Appeal editorial. The editorialadds that "a better idea" would be for congressional leaders to"immediately enter bipartisan negotiations to come up with acompromise." The Commercial Appeal writes, "A moremoderate bill surely would have a better chance of success amongRepublicans who voted against SCHIP expansion" (Memphis Commercial Appeal, 10/20).
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune:"Congressional sponsors of a bill to expand health insurance forchildren of working families should not give up just because the Housefell short of rounding enough votes to override President Bush's veto,"a Times-Picayune editorial states. The editorialcontinues, "It's encouraging that negotiators in both parties areproposing some amendments in a new bill that would get them enoughvotes to overturn another veto." Bush "appropriately championed theMedicare prescription drug benefit approved in 2003, a more expensiveprogram than SCHIP. Children need help as well, and the presidentshould drop [his] objections. Until he does, supporters of SCHIP oughtnot to give up," the Times-Picayune writes (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/20).
  • Raleigh News & Observer:"All politics are local, and here's the effect in North Carolina ofPresident Bush's ill-conceived veto of the bipartisan [SCHIP] bill: Upto 25% of 113,000 youngsters in the state now insured under the programwill lose some of their benefits, unless a compromise is reached," the News & Observer writesin an editorial. The editorial continues, "Of course, looking at theeffects locally is not to minimize what Bush's veto will meannationally. The potential pain will hit hardest those states withhigher health care and health insurance costs than North Carolina's"(Raleigh News & Observer, 10/20).
  • San Francisco Chronicle:The SCHIP "'debate' [over] the past week offered a microcosm ofeverything that is wrong with Washington, including disinformation,personal vitriol and partisan posturing," the Chroniclewrites in an editorial. The editorial states, "Sometimes it seems likethe ultimate goal in Washington is not to accomplish anything, but tosuccessfully blame the other party for a failure." Issues such ashealth care, global warming and the immigration system "are gettingmore rhetoric than resolution from each end of Pennsylvania Avenue,"the Chronicle adds (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/22).
  • Syracuse Post-Standard: According to a Post-Standard editorial,Republican Members of Congress who voted to override Bush's veto"deserve special credit for going against their party in the valiantoverride effort." The editorial continues, the president is "badly outof step on this issue," and it is up to lawmakers "to continue thefight -- and ensure that the new compromise covers as many children aspossible" (Syracuse Post-Standard, 10/19).

Opinion Pieces

  • Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:"Having squandered the budget surplus in foolish domestic spending andan unnecessary war, Republicans can hardly claim fiscal prudence now," Journal-Constitutioneditorial page editor Tucker writes. She adds, "Besides, health carefor children is one of those programs that is actually worth running upthe national debt. It will bring the country huge returns later on,when we baby boomers have retired and need a healthy work force to payinto our Social Security fund" (Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/21).
  • Gregory Kane, Baltimore Sun:"Democrats -- who voted overwhelmingly for the expansion, along withsome Republicans -- tried to paint themselves as the 'party of thechildren' and Republicans as old meanies who have a bee in their bonnetwhen it comes to poor kids," columnist Kane writes in the Sun.However, the "debate on how the program should be expanded is a wee bitmore nuanced and complicated than Democrats telling Republicans 'welike poor kids, and you don't,'" Kane adds (Kane, Baltimore Sun, 10/20).
  • Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune:"In the larger health care debate that's shaping up in thispresidential campaign season, what's really intriguing about Bush'sargument [against expanding SCHIP] is his fear that providing SCHIP forworking families might crowd out private insurers," according to Tribunecolumnist Page. He continues, "That's an ironic position forconservatives who tout the virtue of choice. The Bush administrationappears to favor the right of consumers to have a choice of insuranceproviders, unless their choice happens to be the government-run choice"(Page, Chicago Tribune, 10/21).
  • Jacob Sullum, Washington Times:Instead of "trying to resolve" issues such as SCHIP "at the nationallevel," each state should be permitted to "go its own way, with resultsthat vary depending on local values, the local cost of living and thelocal health care situation," Sullum, a nationally syndicatedcolumnist, writes in the Times. According to Sullum, "Nofederal money would mean one state's legislators could no longer forceanother state's taxpayers to subsidize their generous impulses, but itwould also mean no federal restrictions" (Sullum, Washington Times, 10/21).

Letter to the Editor

John Morley (R), Philadelphia Daily News:"Contrary to" Rep. Bob Brady's (D-Pa.) "repeated implications" in anOct. 8 letter to the editor, "President Bush does not want to end"SCHIP, Morley, a candidate for state Senate in 2008, writes in a Daily Newsletter to the editor. He says, "The president has endorsed a $5 billionincrease in the program," adding that "Bush is simply being fiscallyresponsible" (Morley, Philadelphia Daily News, 10/22).

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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