Debate Over Revised SCHIP Health Insurance Bill

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Summaries of several editorials, two opinion pieces and a letter to the editor that recently addressed the debate over a revised SCHIP bill passed on Thursday by the House appear below.

Editorials

Austin American-Statesman: The revised SCHIP bill "shouldn't come to a veto this time" because the legislation "answers many of the concerns of the president and Republican lawmakers who opposed the previous bill," according to an American-Statesman editorial. The revisions to the legislation "should be enough to win Bush over if he truly means what he says about taking care of our children," the editorial states (Austin American-Statesman, 10/29).

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Knoxville News-Sentinel: SCHIP "is a political loser for congressional Republicans who know that votes against health care for poor children will come back to haunt them next fall," and "they are in an uncomfortable position loyally upholding the president's veto of a bill many of them support," a News-Sentinel editorial writes. However, "House Republicans have a point when they complain that the Democrats didn't consult them on the changes in the second version of the bill" and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "precipitously scheduled the vote," according to the editorial. The editorial states, "So now there will be a second round in the veto fight and maybe a third," adding, "It is too important not to pass, and a compromise does seem within reach. Try, try again" (Knoxville News-Sentinel, 10/29).

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: The revised SCHIP bill "is yet another political statement in what has become an embarrassingly politicized fight over something lawmakers and the president should be eager to provide -- affordable health insurance for the 10 million or so children who now have none," according to a Democrat and Chronicle editorial. The revisions do not address "complaints" that the legislation would serve as a "back door way to begin to establish government-paid universal health care," a concern that Congress and President Bush have not resolved "over the course of several months," the editorial states, adding, "They'd rather bat children's health care around like a political whiffle ball." The editorial concludes, "The Democrats who took control of Congress and Bush have said on many occasions that American children should have health insurance. Right now, those words ring hollow" (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 10/29).

Springfield Republican: Pelosi "didn't exactly cover herself in glory by rushing the latest bill to a new vote before she had gathered sufficient votes for its passage," and one "can argue that the newest vote was a bit of political gamesmanship meant to embarrass the White House," a Republican editorial states. The editorial adds, "We'd have preferred a bill that could have actually garnered the support of enough Republicans to override a veto," although Bush "was wrong to veto the initial measure and he'll be wrong to veto the latest plan." Uninsured children need "health insurance, not a political fight," the editorial concludes (Springfield Republican, 10/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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