President Bush has not directly commented on filmmaker Michael Moore’s SiCKO and it’s devastating critique of the U.S. health care system. He doesn’t have to.
The President made clear which side of health care progress he’s on when he recently stated his intention to veto a Senate bill to increase funds for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The bipartisan bill proposes to put another $35 billion over five years into a program designed to help families who cannot afford health insurance but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
There are currently about 4 million children enrolled for health coverage under SCHIP. There are also an estimated 10 million children in the
Actually, it would be nice if that were true, but it’s not. The Senate bill would still leave millions of children uninsured, as the New York Times acknowledged in its July 22 editorial. But it’s also ironic that Bush frames his opposition to the Senate bill in such ideological terms. After all, the President does support funding SCHIP, if only at a rate that increases funding by $5 billion over the next five years. So maybe the real lesson here is that government-run health care is okay with Bush as long as it’s never quite adequate health care. Because with inflationary health costs, the President’s proposed funding level will translate into even more children abandoned to the land of the uninsured. In
Listening to the President, you just have to ask: What is so damn holy about insurance companies? Should their profits always take precedence over children’s health needs? Or maybe it’s just that the President is concerned about the cost to government? But what’s an extra $35 billion over five years for children’s health when compared to the $8.4 billion a month the
But perhaps the President is also concerned about the bill’s proposed excise tax on cigarettes? Actually, considering that next year’s military budget is $499 billion (this doesn’t even include the
Irony seems to bleed from everything this President espouses that has anything to do with principles. Bush cautions the public about the dangers of government health care, while recovering from his own first-rate, government-paid colonoscopy. Bush sings hymns to the power of free-market solutions, but does nothing while market forces create a nationwide crisis of affordable health care. If unemployment reached 20 percent, which is the percentage of children in
In her new book, The Real Wealth of Nations, cultural historian Riane Eisler cites research that the cost of just one
Just imagine what could be done for American health care with even a fraction of the money wasted in
In the United States, many of the 10 million children without health coverage could be covered under SCHIP, but are not either because their state doesn’t participate or has finance-driven enrollment caps, or because families are not aware of their eligibility. Certainly the medical care children receive can be critical to their health over a lifetime. But where there is only human need the President sees a dangerous political precedent.
Why do we put up with a leader whose SiCKO ideology blinds him even to the most basic needs of children?
Mark T. Harris is a writer from Bloomington,