Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mike Rogers Votes Against Healthcare for Poor Kids

Today the House voted to re-authorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). Here's a little more background on the legislation from Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA):
This is legislation that will renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which currently provides health insurance to six million who otherwise would be without it. It would also expand this coverage to include an additional six million children that aren’t covered under the current law. It also makes needed improvements to Medicare to protect the health of seniors and the disabled. And it’s all paid for so we aren’t adding to the national debt.
Rep. Capps goes on to point out that this legislation has historically had strong bipartisan support. Forty three governors have publicly supported reauthorization of S-CHIP, along with diverse advocacy groups including the American Medical Association, AARP, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the Children’s Defense Fund. In fact, during his 2004 reelection campaign, President Bush routinely voiced his support for the program.

Well -- shock of all shocks -- the "Decider" has flip-flopped on this issue. As Rep. Capps explains...
Unfortunately, the President has changed his tune. His proposal for SCHIP would actually reduce coverage for the six million children currently covered by SCHIP and leave the uninsured 12 million still uninsured. He has threatened to veto the bill and yesterday’s shenanigans on the House floor show that what Republicans are after is conflict, not progress on meeting our country’s challenges. The President and congressional Republicans seem to think that if they hold their breath and stomp the ground long enough they’ll get their way.
When George Bush says jump, Mike Rogers says "how high?", because today Mr. Rogers fell in line with the rest of his Republican colleagues and voted against the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act.

So, what does this mean? According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it means millions of poor kids won't have adequate healthcare coverage (from CBO via OpenCongress):
Congressional Budget Office estimates show that 4.1 million children who otherwise would be uninsured would have health care coverage by 2012 under the bipartisan children’s health legislation the Senate Finance Committee unveiled July 13. ...3.5 million of these 4.1 million children — 85 percent of them — are children with incomes below the current eligibility limits that states have set.
How could Mike Rogers vote against this legislation in good conscience?

Well, keep in mind that Republicans are trying to frame this bill as, "gigantic step in the direction of what should be called Hillary-care - national socialized medicine."

Yep, "socialized medicine." The boogieman. Hillary-care. Ooooh.

First of all, S-CHIP ≠ National Healthcare. End of story. But let's put that aside and forget for a moment that:
The bottom line as far as Mike Rogers is concerned is that a vote in favor of S-SCHIP would've been a vote against George Bush, as well as the healthcare industry that has been lining his pockets for years.

Mike Rogers = Bad Medicine for the 8th district

For the record, the bill passed anyway by a vote of 222-196.

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