And President Bush not only wants to veto the legislation, he’s making it harder for millions of kids to access existing state programs:
The Bush administration, engaged in a battle with Congress over whether a popular children's health insurance program should be expanded, has announced new policies that will make it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children.
New administrative hurdles, which state health officials were told about late last week, are aimed at preventing parents with private insurance for their children from availing of the government-subsidized State Children's Health Insurance Program. But Democrats and children's advocates said that the announcement will jeopardize coverage for children whose parents work at jobs that do not provide employer-paid insurance.
Atrios links to this point-by-point rebuttal of each lame Bush Administration excuse for attacking SCHIP. The lamest of all, IMHO, is the argument that SCHIP causes families to drop their private insurance.
First of all, so what? Personally, I think private health insurance is a scam. It might not have started out that way, but as it exists in 2007, it’s an anti-people boondoggle. We pay our health insurance premiums every month, only to have to beg, borrow and steal to get these assholes to pay up every time we go to the doctor. I’m sick of it. They love to take our money for premiums but they sure don’t want to pay anything out when they’re supposed to, do they? In any other business it would be called fraud. For insurance companies, it’s good business.
But the Bush Administration has completely overstated the problem of a big, bad government program competing with the poor innocent insurance companies. Because for one thing, virtually every state contracts with private insurance agencies to implement these government programs. You know, like how BlueCross BlueShield of TN administers CoverTN and the state’s SCHIP program, CoverKids. It’s not like they aren’t getting their piece of the pie.
Personally, I think the real reason the Bush Administration wants to cut SCHIP is simple: it’s all about politics. They’re just allergic to anything that carries the tiniest whiff of government-provided health care, aka, the evil “socialized medicine” (cue scary music here). If SCHIP is a success, then people might say, “Look! It works! Why can’t we have something like this for everyone?”
And lord knows, we can’t have that.