Well, he did it. For only the fourth time during his presidential career, Bush vetoed the much anticipated addition to a health care insurance plan for children. The bill was easily passed in Congress but quietly stamped by #43 on Wednesday. The focus is the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Both the Senate and House passed an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with strong bipartisan majorities. The legislation would add $35 billion over five years to allow an additional 4 million children into the program. It would be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents to $1 per pack.
Bush says that this is too expensive (is he smoking behind our backs?) and sees this bill as a way to federalize health care. SCHIP is a joint state-federal effort that subsidizes health coverage for 6.6 million people, mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage.
President Bush argued that this new plan would be a move toward socialized medicine by expanding the program to higher-income families.
The Senate has enough votes to override Bush’s decision; however, the House is short about two dozen votes. Bush only wants a 5 million dollar increase instead of the proposed 35 million. I foresee both branches coming together to work something out.
What do you think? Do you think families will misuse this legislation to choose government health care over their own private plans? I think there needs to be some type of median here.