Scroll down for updates…2:06pm Eastern. Harry Reid on the Senate floor now decrying Republicans for “jeopardizing the health of children…”
It’s a twofer tonight for the B.O. Republicans, who’ll be busy on the Senate floor approving Tim Geithner’s Treasury Secretary nomination — and also working with the Dems to pass the S-CHIP Trojan Horse and pave the way for universal health care mandates. Debate on the S-CHIP bill starts tonight per Harry Reid’s urging.
I reported on the House S-CHIP rollover two weeks ago — which saw 40 Republicans siding with Pelosi and the Dems. Today, George Will writes about the “mission gallop” I’ve been chronicling the last two years:
In 2007, after President Bush proposed a $5 billion increase in SCHIP, the House voted for a $50 billion increase but receded to the Senate’s proposed $35 billion, which became the definition of moderation. That compromise, which Bush successfully vetoed, at first would have extended SCHIP eligibility to some households with incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty line (up to $83,000 for a family of four), and more than $30,000 above the median household income ($50,233). So people with incomes higher than most people’s became eligible for a program supposedly for low-income people. Call that compassionate arithmetic.
The new expansion, which is vengeance for Bush’s veto, is mission gallop: It will make it much easier for some states to extend SCHIP eligibility to children from families earning up to $84,800. Furthermore, to make “poor” an extremely elastic concept, generous “income disregards” are allowed. Families can, depending on their state’s policies, subtract from their income calculation what they spend on rent or mortgage or heating or food or transportation or some combination of these. So children in some families with incomes well over $100,000 will be eligible.
Grace-Marie Turner, a student of health-care policies, says this SCHIP expansion is sensible — if your goal is quickly to get as many people on public coverage as possible and to have children grow up thinking that it is normal for them to get their health insurance from the government. That is the goal.
More from AP:
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…The Congressional Budget Office projects that the extra spending would allow 4 million uninsured children to gain coverage through Medicaid and SCHIP through 2013. Another 2.3 million will join the program after previously getting private insurance.
Yup. You read it here first.
Predictably, the Big Nanny universal health care activists have brought out the kiddie human shields again:
Young people are using their artwork to pressure the new administration to pass a children’s health care bill. Nearly 400 students across the country submitted original artwork to the Health Rights Organizing Project, a coalition of community organizations advocating for health care reform. Sixty-one of these pieces — in the theme of promoting health care for all — are being displayed in the America’s Future starts with Healthy Children art exhibit in Washington, D.C.
The organization unveiled the art exhibit last Friday on Capitol Hill. A second unveiling ceremony takes place today at Union Station’s West Hall in Washington, D.C.
“The art exhibit is a chance to bring the public’s attention to health care reform. We need to re-authorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program,” says Gerald Smith, co-committee chair for the Health Rights Organizing Project’s SCHIP campaign. “It’s not really health care reform, it’s re-authorizing a successful program and putting a down-payment on comprehensive health care reform to ensure everyone in the country has health care, including all children.”
Make sure you re-read the title of that artwork: “Only Healthy Children are Able To Carry on America’s Future.”
Of course, if Nancy Pelosi has her way, there will be fewer children — healthy or not – to worry about in the future.