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As the SCHIP bill comes up for debate Thursday, and that will be tomorrow folks, expect plenty of righteous indignation to emanate from the Republican side of the aisle. They will snort and stamp and say that the Democrats are trying to insure rich kids at the expense of poor kids.  And the Do-Right Republicans, of course, definitely want to do right by the poor. 

This argument has its base in the hypothetical figure of 83,000 dollars. This figure is the amount of income that a SCHIP recipient’s family might earn if New York’s proposal for funding for families earning 400% of poverty level were to be honored.  It will not be honored. The White House has rejected the request stating that it may pull children out of private insurance plans to put them in SCHIP programs.  Right now, New York’ s program is capped at 250% of poverty level.  Currently the only state with an income cap of over 300% of poverty level is New Jersey, at 350%, but children from higher earnings families are often charged premiums and co-pays via sliding scale. 

Although the Republicans will try to punch through the impression that the bill will allow families earning up to 83,000 dollars per year into the program, it is, in fact, a baseless argument. That would only happen if a State wanted to insure kids at 400% of poverty level.  But states must receive approval from the Secretary of Health and Human Services before they can expand income eligibility.  A recent survey by the Congressional Research Service found that 32 states had capped at 200% or less of poverty level and that 17 states had caps of 200% to 300%.  Missouri has been a 300 per center in the past. 

According to Krugman in a BuzzFlash interview.

“The reason that Bush is so opposed to SCHIP is the same reason he was so determined to privatize Social Security, which is that they’re both programs that work.  You have to understand, that is the point of view of somebody who really wants to undo the New Deal — and if possible … get things back to the way they were before Teddy Roosevelt and the ‘Socialists’ came in.

“The worst thing is a government program that actually does help people, so the SCHIP is a really bad thing, from Bush’s point of view, because it works so well. It might lead people to say, well, if we can do this for lower-income children, why can’t we do it for lots of other people who need guaranteed health care? So it’s the determination, on his part, to do this veto, even though there’s a short-term political cost, because they’re deathly afraid that people will look at SCHIP and say, gee, actually the government can do some good.”

So everything boils down to the role of government.  The Decider and his cohorts are radically and shamelessly anti-government.  Recall if you will the Decider on taking the office of president stating “this would be easier if this was a dictatorship and I was the dictator.”  Neither Freudian slip nor joke, the Decider uses manipulation and exploitation with skill to further his ambition to dismantle our government.  He was stopped dead on the privatization of Social Security, but managed to cut funds enormously for Medicaid and slide through a shady Medicare Part D program that gives more to Big Pharma that it does to older adults. 

Support for the bill and now for veto override has been quite unprecedented. We still  need to keep up the furor going into the vote.  In addition to calling your reps, I will add a listing of web sites to access to suppport the bill asap.  It’s never too late!
Here are the contacts:

[ http://capwiz.com/am… ] for the AMA veto override campaign.

[ http://www.catholics… ] for Catholics United  ad campaign pressuring Republican holdouts.

[ http://pol.moveon.or… ]  for a MoveOn.org SCHIP vigil in your town.

[ https://secure.truem… ] for Ben and Jerry’s True Majority campaign.

[ http://www.americans… ] for SEIU, AFSCME and Americans United for Change campaigns.