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9/27/2004

Lost News: President Reneges on SCHIP Promise

Sometimes I get too caught up in Iraq, and miss the pernicious little Bush campaignistration assaults on our way of life. For instance, I missed this article in the Saturday Washington Post about Bush breaking a promise he made less than a month ago.

Bush's RNC speech: said:

America's children must also have a healthy start in life. In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need.
He referred people to his website:
Promote Affordable Health Care for Children - The President will launch a nationwide, billion dollar Cover the Kids campaign to sign up more children for quality health care coverage. The Cover the Kids campaign will combine the resources of the Federal Government, states, and community organizations, including faith-based organizations, with the goal of covering all SCHIP-eligible children within the next two years.
Less than a month after promising new resources for the program, he takes back $1.1 billion from state governments.
The loss of $1.1 billion in federal money means six states participating in the State Children's Health Insurance Program face budget shortfalls in 2005; it is enough money to provide health coverage for 750,000 uninsured youngsters nationwide, according to two new analyses by advocacy organizations.
***
Over the objections of the National Governors Association and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, Bush opposes giving states more time to spend the money. In previous years he supported an extension, but he struck it from this year's proposed budget. Even if Bush belatedly endorses a bill extending the SCHIP spending deadline, it will come at a price: Congress is required to trim $1.1 billion elsewhere in the budget if it lets states keep the money. [Washington Post 9/25/04]
The administration is taking that 1.1 billion back, but giving 1 billion to "some states, community groups and religious organizations," nominally for outreach purposes. Outreach support is needed, as states have almost entirely eliminated it [PDF] for budgetary reasons. Like the rest of Bush's false faith based initiatives, though, Bush's is an effort to turn good government programs into largesse and graft for political constituencies.

The worst part of the story is that SCHIP has been the one example of the "flexible" conservative approach to social policy actually returning some dividends. States have been able to experiment, and have settled on different approaches to the program. To take back, at such a crucial time, money states were relying on to insure poor children is the height of folly.

The Baltimore Sun has a decent look at the differences between the candidates on Health Care.

PS. Including KOS in Google News has made a big difference. Here is the Kos diary on this subject.

 

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