Another reminder of how much “pro-life” politicians love little babies: so much that they won’t provide health care for them.
President Bush yesterday rejected entreaties by his Republican allies that he compromise with Democrats on legislation to renew a popular program that provides health coverage to poor children, saying that expanding the program would enlarge the role of the federal government at the expense of private insurance.
The president said he objects on philosophical grounds to a bipartisan Senate proposal to boost the State Children’s Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. Bush has proposed $5 billion in increased funding and has threatened to veto the Senate compromise and a more costly expansion being contemplated in the House.
“I support the initial intent of the program,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post after a factory tour and a discussion on health care with small-business owners in Landover. “My concern is that when you expand eligibility . . . you’re really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government.”
And that would cut into insurance company profits, which may cut into campaign donations from insurance companies.
The current program costs the government $5 billion a year — which is, what, less than two weeks of war in Iraq? The proposed health care access increase could cover an additional 3.3 million children. About 13 million children live in poverty in this country.
But that would harm insurance companies, and we can’t have that. And it would harm tax-payers like you, right? I mean, why should your hard-earned money go to help some five-year-old fight off pneumonia, especially when he can just go to the emergency room? Well, the real kicker is that you wouldn’t even have to pay for the increase to this program if you don’t want to — it would have been funded by an increased tax on cigarettes. Now, I know some people love their nicotine and that’s fine by me, but (especially since smoking in public does pose health risks to those around you) I don’t think it’s horribly unreasonable to raise cigarette taxes in order to pay for children’s health care. Of course, that might hurt tobacco companies. And we can’t have that.
I can already hear our resident anti-choice lurkers flexing their fingers to write about how dishonest I am for suggesting that “pro-life” politicians don’t give a shit about taking care of children after they’re born. After all, doesn’t the WaPo article say that other Republicans urged Bush accept the legislation?
Well, yes — but only because they’re afraid that Democrats will do the unthinkable and try to help more poor children. And because they’ve written some insurance company perks into the legislation:
Grassley and Hatch, in a joint statement this week, implored the president to rescind his veto threat. They warned that Democrats might seek an expansion of $50 billion or more if there is no compromise.
They also said that Bush should drop efforts to link the program’s renewal to his six-month-old proposal to replace the long-standing tax break for employer-based health insurance with a new tax deduction that would help people pay for insurance, regardless of whether they get it through their jobs or purchase it on their own.
“Tax legislation to expand health insurance coverage is badly needed, but there’s no Democratic support for it in the SCHIP debate,” said Grassley, the ranking Republican on the finance panel. “In the meantime, our SCHIP initiative in the Finance Committee takes care of a program that’s about to expire in a way that’s more responsible than current law and $15 billion less than the budget resolution calls for.”
Sadly, Congressional Republicans weren’t able to under-fund kids while lining insurance company pockets quite enough to please the President. Although Bush and his political appointees did make some genius-level statements in defending their position:
A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the program would require about $14 billion in new money over five years — on top of the current $5 billion in annual funding — merely to keep covering the same number of children, in part because of rising health-care costs. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, accompanying Bush yesterday, said: “We disagree with that number.”
Well if you say so…
I wish I could live my life like this. I would get the bill for my law school tuition, raise my eyebrow and simply say, “We disagree with that number,” and it would all go away.
In the 15-minute interview, Bush also rejected the charges by former surgeon general Richard H. Carmona that the administration’s political appointees routinely rewrote his speeches, blocked public health reports for political reasons and screened his travel.
“I can’t speak to some of the complaints the surgeon general made,” Bush said. “. . . He worked energetically in his job. And, obviously, at some point in time, he became very disgruntled and spoke out about it. But ours is an administration that attracts very smart, capable people. I’m very interested in their points of view, and I expect people to speak out. I also have my own points of view and feel very strongly about a lot of issues.”
Yes, when I look at the Bush administration, the first adjectives I think of are “smart” and “capable.” We’re lucky if this man is able to read the telemonitor and still manage to complete a full sentence. People consider his speeches and public appearances “successful” if he says anything more complex than “guns are COOL!” and avoids setting the stage on fire. The fact that he’s still alive is either a testament to the fickleness of Mother Nature, or a flat-out refutation of natural selection.*
If his is an administration that attracts smart and capable people, it’s because they’re such astounding fuck-ups that anyone with a little bit of intelligence has, at some point, come out to criticize them. How brilliant are they? Just watch:
Bush said he is opposed to a bipartisan legislation that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products, which could lead to stronger warning labels and limits on nicotine and other ingredients.
“We’ve always said that nicotine is not a drug to be regulated under FDA,” Bush said.
Leavitt added that one danger is that the FDA could be seen as giving its stamp of approval to a product “that will never be safe.”
Yes, far better to let a product like that go unregulated.
Welcome to the Culture of Life.
*I learned about Darwinism from an Evangelical Christian teacher,** so don’t blame me for that total misrepresentation of scientific principles.
**Actually, that is not true at all.
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- The Bush administration: So “pro-life,” they’ll violate federal law to deny health care to children by Jill April 19, 2008
- “Sanctity of Life” apparently doesn’t apply to girls by Jill January 16, 2009