Three nanoseconds after the House signed off on a bill extending the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to 4 million children from low-income families, the Big O signed it into law.
The House had voted something like 7 times since 2007 to expand the program only to be stoned by George W. Bush who believed it would lead to “government-run health care for every American.”
The House never could muster the votes to overturn his poison pen.
SCHIP, originally formed in 1997 with bipartisan support, is directed at kids in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to afford private insurance.
Forty House Republicans voted for SCHIP. Two Democrats voted against it.
The Big O, still seething over l’affaire Daschle, trumpeted SCHIP as an indication how different things’ll be in his administration. Uh, once he finds people to fill the posts, that is.
California Democrat Henry Waxman chirped “while this bill is short of our ultimate goal of health reform, it is a down payment, and is an essential start.”
Meanwhile, Iowa Republican Steve King, derided SCHIP as “a foundation stone for socialized medicine,” and his buddy Tom McClintock of California added it was “slowly replacing employer health plans with government-paid health plans, with spiraling costs to taxpayers.”
The new SCHIP extends coverage to children and pregnant women who are legal immigrants, a rider that rankled a number of Republicans that had supported earlier versions.
To come up with the $32 billion required to fund the SCHIP expansion, the bill calls for Federal tobacco taxes to be jacked from 39 cents per pack to a buck.
Remarkably, even after the SCHIP expansion is fully implemented, there’ll still be 5 million kids in the US who remain uninsured.