Sunday, January 25, 2009

There they go again

Guaranteed effect on wingers of the SCHIP bill once again in congress is the regular posturing against subsidizing those incomes of what now is claimed to be $83,000. The figure varies with the changing economy, as states have the option given them of giving health insurance to kids who need it. Hint: children need health care no matter how high income their families may be.

Presently the Senate is about to do its usual number of holding public interest legislation for ransom to keep gains from trickling down to needy kids. This round they are the last resort as the veto has been removed from the White House by popular vote.

Republicans appear to have overplayed their hand when blocking the expansion of a children's health care program last year.

They face the likelihood that Democrats in the coming weeks will pass a bill that they dislike even more.

With more Democrats in Congress and President Barack Obama in the White House, GOP lawmakers don't have the numbers or a veto threat to do anything about it.

The Senate planned to begin debate as early as Monday on a bill that would increase spending on the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $31.5 billion over the next 4 1/2 years.

Congress approved a similar bill in late 2007 that former President George W. Bush vetoed. The House fell about 15 votes shy of overriding the veto. But the current legislation contains some important changes.

It is friendlier to states that want to cover children in families with incomes exceeding three times the federal poverty level — $63,600 for a family of four.

Also, the bill calls for covering children of legal immigrants now barred from government-sponsored insurance until they have been in the country at least five years.

The two provisions have angered Senate Republicans, including some who disagreed with Bush and worked closely with Democrats on expanding the program in 2007. Democrats have countered that 90 percent of the bill to be debated in the week ahead is based on legislation that previously had broad bipartisan support in the both the Senate and House.

"It's the 10 percent that represents barbed wire and a heck of a burr underneath our saddles," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

SCHIP was designed to provide health coverage to families with incomes too high to quality for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. Federal money for the program expires March 31.

When Congress sought to renew the program in late 2007, Bush said it needed to be refocused on the working poor. So he vetoed the first bill that lawmakers sent him. Lawmakers went back to work and agreed to limit federal dollars to health coverage for families earning less than three times the federal poverty level.

But Bush vetoed that bill, too.

Now that income limit is gone in the legislation moving through Congress. States can used SCHIP to cover children of any income level. When they do move higher than three times the poverty level, states will get the payment rates they normally get through Medicaid instead of the rate they get for SCHIP, which is higher.

My heart does not bleed for the wingers who have managed to throw zillions at the highest income earners in the country while diverting any assistance from the working members of the economy. They can rant on about the high incomes of the families whose children can't afford health care, but I am still listening for the removal of obscene tax cuts from the 1% who earn so much more.

An acid test has been passed: doddering George Will thinks we're running loose in the trough he dedicates to the very very rich; A nation in which $350 billion was but the first half of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and in which TARP is distinct from the perhaps $825 billion "stimulus" program, is a nation being taught not to take seriously sums with merely nine digits and two commas. How quickly Will forgets the off-budget trillions the war criminals sent off to war, in bundles that kids in uniforms were given to go out and build a school or something. How quickly Will forgets the Pentagon budget and star wars that has yet to be functional. No, it's those kids that really make rightwing blood boil.

Pity would be forthcoming if I saw any sign that they even see how ironic it is to rage against protecting our kids' health while throwing any amount into the corporate welfare trough. The reasoning that businesses protected from taxes will provide the jobs and income to keep our economy healthy has been disproved for eight years. The cost of neglecting this generation's health is insupportable.

Ordering the kids off their lawn hasn't worked out for the wingers. It isn't their lawn, anyway.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

See my remarks on this matter on "The Lamb."

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't get it--why do they have to get stingy when it comes to health care but so loose when it comes to other, less important things? don't the children deserve insurance and care?

10:25 PM  

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