Friday, October 12, 2007

Republicans Seek to Override Bush (and Graves) on SCHIPS

You know the controversy, Congress passed an expansion of SCHIP (health care for poor kids). Congressman Graves voted against it (because he thinks it has something to do with illegal immigration). Senator Bond voted for it. Mayor Barnes said she would support SCHIP.

The end of times must be approaching because now Republican Senators are talking about an override of Bush's veto of SCHIP. Isn't that an override of Congressman Graves, too? How did Graves get so far out of step from the rest of the Republicans and the Country? Read the letter to the Wall Street Journal from Senators Grassley (R - Iowa) and Hatch (R - Utah).

Compromise Bill Sets Up A Less Expensive Schip
We were dismayed by the mischaracterization of the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2007 in your Sept. 28 editorial "Schip for Everyone." You did not accurately portray the work and diligence that went into crafting this truly bipartisan compromise, which passed the Senate twice with 18 Republican senators voting "aye." Due to our participation, the bill is significantly less expensive than the Schip reserve fund in the Democrats' budget, prohibits state waivers for covering adult men and non-pregnant women, and refocuses on low-income children by cutting federal matching dollars to states covering those over 300% of poverty.

In order to find and cover even half of the six million eligible but unenrolled kids, the Congressional Budget Office said we needed to spend more money than the president proposed.

Assertions that the bill expands coverage to higher-income children are baseless. In fact, the bill puts tremendous pressure on states to not cover higher incomes. Just like now, the only way a state may cover higher income families is with administration approval, which the Bush administration has given repeatedly.

We want this practice to stop, so our bill specifically targets Schip coverage to low-income children. It says that if states cover higher income families over 300% of poverty, then the money they get from the federal government is cut, and by 2010, they get no funding for such coverage if the state isn't covering most of its low-income children.

This is not an entitlement program. The legislation passed by the House would have turned Schip into an uncapped entitlement, but the compromise bill maintains the Senate position for a capped block grant.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R., Utah)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa)

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