Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mike Rogers: Dr. No

Today, the House overwhelmingly passed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), twice-vetoed by President Bush, with the comfortable margin of 289-139.

As a quick recap, S-CHIP is the joint federal/state program that helps working parents purchase affordable health insurance coverage for their children. It isn't welfare, it isn't a handout, and it isn't socialized medicine. SCHIP has been a success since its start in 1997.

Over the past two years, the Neighborhood had quite a few S-CHIP posts, given Mr. Rogers' implacable opposition to a program that has enjoyed strong bipartisan support.   

Guess we can give Mr. Rogers partial credit for being consistent: he voted against it again today.

Why vote no, when 150,000 Michigan children have no health insurance?  On the floor today, Mr. Rogers stated "Let's get our priorities right, let's not pit children against seniors. I would urge a strong no vote against the bill."

After four terms in Congress, you'd think Mr. Rogers would know that Medicare funding and S-CHIP funding come from two completely different sources.  It's disingenuous at best to hide behind senior citizens -- especially since Mr. Rogers has hung seniors out to dry on health care more than once before.

E.J. Dionne makes the point that S-CHIP is even more crucial in today's economic climate:

It's not just that sharp increases in unemployment add to the ranks of the uninsured. State governments are hurting, too, and they are responding to revenue shortfalls by shrinking health-care programs.

According to Families USA, a group that pushes for fundamental health-care reform, states have enacted budget cuts that will leave some 275,000 people without health coverage, including 260,000 children in California. By the end of this year, if further proposed cuts go through, the number losing health coverage nationwide could rise to more than 1 million, almost half of them children. Other states have reduced benefits to those they still insure.

Bringing this closer to home, the latest KidsCount Report details the impact of record-breaking unemployment rates on Michigan's children: statewide, the poverty rate for children under 18 rose from 13.6% in 2000 to 19% in 2007.  

Over the next few weeks, you'll be hearing a lot about why Mike Rogers will be a good choice for our next Governor.  When you hear that, remind people that Mike Rogers doesn't think kids from working families deserve health insurance.

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