Friday, September 21, 2007

Republicans against Health Care

Bush just announced that he would veto an expansion of an overwhelmingly successful (not to mention popular) plan that provide health care for impoverished children, calling it "a step toward federalization of health care." That's the point!
In calling for Congress to pass a “clean, temporary extension” of the current State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Mr. Bush argued that the Democratic bill would raise taxes and allow children whose families earn up to $83,000 a year to enroll. The Democrats propose paying for the measure by raising the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

But the chief Republican sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, said Mr. Bush “is getting bad information.” He said Mr. Bush’s reference to the $83,000 limit was drawn from a proposal put forth by New York State to receive an exemption from the program’s restrictions, which the administration recently denied.
It shouldn't matter whether a child is born in Massachusetts or Texas, they should all get the same quality of health care. We are the the richest country in the world. We pay more than three times the next closest country on health care, yet the end result is worse than any industrialized nation. Rather than taking this incremental, consensus approach to solving the biggest domestic crisis of our time, Bush wants to veto it. And national Republicans are supporting him all the way.
[fmr. Utah Gov. Republican Mike] Leavitt recommended that Congress temporarily extend the program so children receiving coverage do not lose it, while lawmakers and the White House continue to work out differences.

"The president would like to see SCHIP reauthorized, and we'd like to get on to the larger question of how do we provide insurance for all Americans," Leavitt said.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced a bill Wednesday that would provide a basic extension of the program for 18 months without the increase in funding or policy changes that have been approved. House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republican Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for a vote on Barton's bill Wednesday.
I am glad that Hatch is leading the fight on the expansion of SCHIP and that Bennett co-sponsored a universal health care bill. But the man they support for President is offering just the opposite.
Mitt Romney chose the sidewalk in front of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, home of the Rudolph W. Giuliani Trauma Center, for a news conference this morning blasting Senator Hillary Clinton’s health care plan.
Mr. Romney has released his own health care plan, which relies on federal incentives for market reforms, tax deductions and other changes to encourage people to buy health insurance and drive down costs. A central principle is its “federalist” approach, encouraging states to take their own steps to lower the cost of health insurance.
“In her plan, we have government insurance, instead of private insurance,” Mr. Romney said. “In her plan, it’s crafted by Washington. It should be crafted by the states.”
“I think she takes her inspiration from European bureaucracies and instead we should take our inspiration from the American people,” Mr. Romney added.
Actually, Hillary's plan takes its inspiration from the Massachusetts plan that Gov. Romney recently gave himself credit for and signed into law (now he is of course, against it). Not that any of his primary opponents are any better. All the Republicans running for president want to do are bash Hillary, because it makes their primary voters happy, and keep the status quo, which makes HMOs and drug companies (their donors) happy.

Erza Klein sums it up nicely:
The Republican vision is for a world in which the sick and dying get to deduct some of the cost of health insurance that they don't have -- and can't get -- on their taxes. The Democratic vision is for every American to have health insurance.

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