(S)CHIP Misperception And The Working Poor

Posted in District 31, Health Care, Election 2008, Bad Government Republicans, Congress, Had Enough Yet?, Around The State, Around The Nation, Commentary, Williamson County at 11:16 am by wcnews

There’s a misperception regarding (S)CHIP. The misperception is that this is a program for poor children and poor children only. (S)CHIP is an acronym for (State) Childrens Health Insurance Program, in case you didn’t already know. As you’ll see the word poor is nowhere to be found. The program was created to help children that were not poor enough for Medicaid but not wealthy enough to afford to buy private insurance. To bridge-the-gap, for those whose parents have jobs,but don’t have employer provided health care. Meet the Working Poor, a new phrase that has entered the lexicon since “conservatives” began taking power in this country.

There are 35 million people in the country living in poverty. Most of the adults in that group work nowadays; many of them work full time. And while there are heavy concentrations of African-Americans and white single women in the mix, the group is every bit as diverse, and diffuse, as the nation is.

That was from 2004. Paul Krugman’s column today about how Conservatives Are Such Jokers is dead on.

On Wednesday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have expanded S-chip, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health insurance to an estimated 3.8 million children who would otherwise lack coverage.

In anticipation of the veto, William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, had this to say: “First of all, whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children, I tend to think it’s a good idea. I’m happy that the president’s willing to do something bad for the kids.” Heh-heh-heh.

Most conservatives are more careful than Mr. Kristol. They try to preserve the appearance that they really do care about those less fortunate than themselves. But the truth is that they aren’t bothered by the fact that almost nine million children in America lack health insurance. They don’t think it’s a problem.

“I mean, people have access to health care in America,” said Mr. Bush in July. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”


What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.

And Republican disillusionment with Mr. Bush does not appear to signal any change in that regard. On the contrary, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have gone out of their way to condemn “socialism,” which is G.O.P.-speak for any attempt to help the less fortunate.

So once again, if you’re poor or you’re sick or you don’t have health insurance, remember this: these people think your problems are funny.

The (S)CHIP debate is about getting more children health care is this country. We should be having a debate about getting all children covered but were not. That, hopefully, will come next. Sen. Cornyn is having trouble explaining his side of it, as is the President, and that’s as it should be. Our Congressman, John Carter (R-Heartless), will most definitely have this used against him if he continues to side with the president.

The bipartisan coalition that passed this bill in both chambers so far says there will be no compromise with the President. This bill was already a compromise. The Senate Majority Leader had this to say:

“We’re not going to compromise,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters in the Capitol. He called Bush’s compromise overtures “an insult.”

“You cannot wring another ounce of compromise out of this,” Reid said. “The president, what he has done with his macho pen, is really hurt children. He thinks he can waltz in here with his secretary of Health and Human Services, and sweet talk us — he can’t. This is a man who is out of touch with reality.”

And last a little more on the working poor. In 2004 Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards was able to hold onto his seat by pointing out the heartlessness of his GOP opponent, Arlene Wohlgemuth, who was instrumental in cutting CHIP benefits in Texas. In the video below a working mother says this:

“You know, there are many people out there that work so hard. I don’t want to be on welfare, I just want good insurance for my child. And I’m working hard. Yeah, I could quit my job tomorrow and she’d be set, but I’m not going to do that, and there’s a lot of people out there that aren’t going to do that, and why that group of us has to get hurt, I don’t know.”

That is, in essence, the working poor and that’s who this program helps. If a person has a job they, and their family, deserve the dignity of having affordable health insurance. If Carter decides to stand by the President, like he did Tom DeLay, he shouldn’t be surprised if a commercial like this winds up on TV around here.

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