One week after the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation that will improve accessibility of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP] program -- a plan that provides health insurance for millions of kids who wouldn't otherwise have health care -- President Bush vetoed the bill to increase funding by $35 billion.
Why should GoodBiz113 readers care? First off, SCHIP is simply good, solid, humane legislation. Secondly, because Sens. John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia Snowe [R-Maine], both of whom devotedly serve on the Committee for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, had attached an amendment to the legislation to enroll more children in the program -- i.e., children of small-business owners, their employeees, self-employed people, and entrepreneurs.
Bush's proposal of a mere $5 billion funding increase would not have even kept pace with inflation and spiraling medical costs. Further, for a president whose generous tax cuts for the wealthy, and whose administration has erased a budget surplus, crying for frugality now seems unconscionably incongruent.
Recent polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of people -- 72%, according to a Washington Post-ABC News survey -- favor the proposed SCHIP funding measure. Fully 86% of the American people support reauthorizing SCHIP.
More specifically, as GoodBiz113 reported last week ["OPEN: Small-Business Owners Hold the Line on Hiring, Remain Focused on Growth in Uncertain Economy"], nearly early eight in 10 [79%] small businesses would consider proposed health-care policy solutions as a way to make health care accessible. More than half support a plan that would "ensure every child in the U.S. has health insurance" [58%], or "provide tax credits to low-income workers to help pay for health care" [54%].
Still, the president stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the will of Americans on this issue -- just as he does on the war in Iraq, which he contends is key to our nation's security. He fails to recognize that security of the nation's children also is in jeopardy when it comes to lack of health care.
"If government-supported health care is good enough for President Bush, why isn’t it good enough for America’s children?" poses senior Sen. Ted Kennedy [D-Mass., pictured above], who introduced SCHIP legislation 10 years ago. "We can be a voice for the nation's children -- a voice that every member of Congress needs to hear. If government-supported health care is good enough for Congress, it’s good enough for America’s children."
Exercise Your Voice
On Oct. 18, Congress will vote on overriding Bush's veto. If you'd like to voice your views to your elected officials before then, please do so at your earliest possible opportunity.
You can find your U.S. Senators here: http://www.senate.gov/
You can locate your U.S. House representative via this link: http://www.house.gov/
Sources: ABC News, OPEN from American Express, Washington Post
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