As expected, President Bush today vetoed a proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). By now, faithful readers of this website are familiar with the administration's arguments--and the many flaws they contain. (If not, see here and here.) But I can't help but seize on one of the statements Bush just made
while making a speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: "the policies of the government ought to be to help people find private insurance, not federal coverage."
Really? I always thought the idea, first and foremost, was to get people decent health insurance -- regardless of who's running it. And apparently I'm not alone. A great many conservatives voted for this measure, not because they're dying to have government more involved in health care but because they want kids covered and are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
The House Republican leadership -- which is standing behind their president -- says they have enough votes to sustain Bush's veto. That's too bad. And I'm not really sure how this plays out in terms of future negotiations. The White House is signalling its willingness to compromise, but the bill Congress sent him was already a compromise. The original House measure was a lot more generous. Bush, meanwhile, continue to tout his own proposal -- which, because of its meager funding, would actually result in states forcing kids off the S-CHIP rolls.