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SCHIP Veto 'Skewered' Minority Children

Armen Hareyan's picture

State Children's Health Insurance Program

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President Bush's vetoof the SCHIP reauthorization and expansion bill "skewered children ofcolor," as the program has "been a lifeline for uninsured kids acrossthe board, but especially minorities," Kai Wright, editor of BlackAids.org, writes in a Progressive Media Project/Tallassee Democrat opinion piece. According to data from Families USA,SCHIP since its inception has reduced the number of uninsured blackchildren by almost half and the number of uninsured Hispanic andAsian-American children by nearly one-third. "Vast disparities remain,as racial and ethnic minorities still account for 60% of the roughlynine million uninsured kids," Wright says in the opinion piece.

Wrightcounters some of Bush's reasons for vetoing the bill, including that itwould have extended coverage to undocumented immigrants andmiddle-class families and would have "cost too much." According toWright, three-quarters of the children who would have been coveredunder the expansion provisions in the bill would be from families withannual incomes of lower than $41,300 for a family of four. In addition,the bill would have continued the existing policy of excluding allimmigrants unless they have been in the U.S. for at least five years.

Wrightsays, "We've seen this playbook before: Repeat lies, hoping they willpass for truth" and "push ahead with a predetermined agenda, regardlessof the facts on the ground." Wright concludes, "That approach created aforeign policy disaster, and it will spawn similarly disastrous resultsfor the health of our children, no matter their color" (Wright, Progressive Media Project/Tallassee Democrat, 10/27).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.