From The Seattle Times:
Insuring children was considered the easiest part of the health-overhaul challenge because they are cheaper to cover and support for doing so is high.
But the debate bogged down on two key questions also at the heart of broader changes to cover the 47 million uninsured: costs and the role of government in helping middle-class families, not just the poor.
President Bush earlier this month vetoed a measure expanding a program that provides health insurance for children of the working poor. As expected, Thursday’s attempt to override his veto failed.
In the 273-156 vote, those seeking an override fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed. Despite a two-week campaign to pressure Republicans to switch, only 44 voted to override. In the Washington delegation, only Republican Doc Hastings voted to uphold the veto.
The Senate passed the measure by a veto-proof majority Sept. 27.
The impasse has repercussions for states that administer the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, as the federal-state partnership is called. It was designed to cover children whose parents earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance.
The congressional bill, a compromise between Democrats and leading Senate Republicans, called for spending $60 billion over five years to cover about 10 million children. The legislation would have allowed states to extend coverage to uninsured children in middle-class families making up to about $62,000 for a family of four — three times the federal poverty level — but it discouraged expansions above that income range.
For comparison, Bush has proposed spending $30 billion over five years.
“As it is clear that this legislation lacks sufficient support to become law, now is the time for Congress to stop playing politics and to join the president in finding common ground to reauthorize this vital program,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement after the vote.
Hmmmm. It lacks sufficient support,
Two out of three Americans opposed Bush’s decision to veto expanded funding for Schip, according to a survey by the Harvard School of Public Health, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and National Public Radio.
The poll, released yesterday, found that 35 percent of those surveyed would be less likely to back a member of Congress who voted against the Schip measure.