The House voted Tuesday to expand health insurance for children, but the Democratic-led victory may prove short-lived because the margin was too small to override President Bush’s promised veto.
Embarking on a health care debate likely to animate the 2008 elections, the House voted 265-159 to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, by $35 billion over five years. Bush says he will veto the bill due to its cost, its reliance on a tobacco tax increase and its potential for replacing private insurance with government grants.
SCHIP is a state-federal program that provides coverage for 6.6 million children from families that live above the poverty level but have trouble affording private health insurance. The proposed expansion, backed by most governors and many health-advocacy groups, would add 4 million children to the rolls.
The bill drew support from 45 House Republicans, many of them moderates who do not want to be depicted as indifferent to low-income children’s health needs when they seek re-election next year. But 151 Republicans sided with Bush, a move that Democrats see as a political blunder.
Nevermind that we’re paying $12 billion per month for George’s War in Iraq. $35 billion over five years is just too much to pay to get health insurance for more kids.
Republicans… can’t live with ’em… well, that’s pretty much it. You can’t live with ’em.