Thursday, October 18, 2007

An Opening on SCHIP

First, it appears the Democrats won't have the votes to override Bush's veto

Democrats tried Thursday to revive a bill expanding a popular government health care program to 10 million children after President Bush vetoed it.

But when the roll call began, they appeared to be at least a dozen votes short of
the two-thirds majority they needed in the House to override him.

What will happen next is anyone's guess, however Roberty Bluey reports on an alternative plan being crafted by Republicans. Here are the highlights.

Reauthorize SCHIP for eligible children. The bill would continue to cover kids in families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

• Enact a child health care tax credit. Rather than putting more people on a government-run program, the bill would offer tax credits to families with incomes between 200% and 300% of the poverty level. This would cover the population targeted by liberals with their bill, but instead of forcing them to drop their current coverage, it would provide assistance to keep their current insurance plan.

• Adopt a “federalism” health-care initiative. The bill encourages greater experimentation at the state level to expand health-care coverage.

This is very important because the polls on SCHIP are mixed. Here are the results of one poll.

At this point, the Democrats seem to be winning -- though not dominating -- the public relations battle. According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Oct. 12-14, about half of Americans say they have more confidence in the Democrats in Congress than in Bush to handle the issue. Only one-third of Americans choose Bush, while another 15% have no preference.

That preference for the Democrats reflects Americans' unvarnished perception of the children's health bill. Other questions in the survey that provide information about Bush's arguments against the Democratic bill show more support for his position.

However, the same poll shows the attitudes differently when asked to examine SCHIP.

52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level — about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to such families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow.

•55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance. Bush and Republican opponents have called that a step toward government-run health care.

What this says to me at least is that the Republicans have the edge on policy however the Democrats have framed the issue better. Of course, they sent a poor kid to deliver their radio address. Their whole entire argument comes down to "it's for the children". Of course, there's is the the more sympathetic position. What it also says is that the people aren't fooled as long as you explain yourself properly. They want poor kids covered by government health insurance, however they want those kids to really be poor, and they don't want a program meant for the poor extending to the Middle Class

Now, the Republicans have their own plan. This plan covers the poor kids, and it also doesn't bloat government to include the middle class. It even replaces a bloated government with tax breaks. These are all things Americans will like but Americans must now the party is offering them. They can no longer allow themselves to be demonized as being against the children, however in order to win, they must go out and sell the plan. People agree with them on policy and they have a policy that not only "helps the children" but is also more sound. I can't say it. The leadership must say. The Republican leadership must be all over the airwaves, all over the print media, the blogs, and anywhere else that gives them an audience and explain their plan.

The problem was that this debate was framed as taking the Democrats plan or not allowing poor kids to get health insurance. The Republicans must adjust the frame, and present an alternative that also covers the children, but doesn't irresponsibly expand government so that it becomes corrupt. This is a debate they can win but they must stand up and fight.


According to Michelle, the veto was not overridden

The veto override fails, falls short of two-thirds majority, 273-156. The roll will be here.

Now, the political battle goes into full swing.


John Shaddeg makes the case effectively in an editorial everyone should read, however by putting it into Investor's Business Daily he continues the Republicans long strategy of only presenting their ideas to friendly media. This editorial needed to go into the New York Times or the Washington Post, not IBD, in my opinion.

In his State of the Union address last year, President Bush proposed giving all Americans a tax deduction to purchase health care insurance, to be credited against payroll as well as income taxes. His proposal would have eliminated the unfairness in our current tax code that rewards those with group health insurance through their employer and punishes those who do not get coverage through their employer and must buy their own.

The president's proposal targeted those who do not have insurance available through their employer. This is precisely the group targeted by SCHIP. Yet, the same Democrats who are attacking the president now over his SCHIP veto declared his proposal "dead on arrival."

Giving families a refundable tax credit or deduction against payroll taxes to buy health insurance would let them choose a plan that meets their needs, a plan that included the coverage and doctors they want. Also, if they change or lose their job, it would be portable and they wouldn't lose their coverage.

he continues...

I have introduced legislation that would let consumers buy health insurance approved in another state, not just their own, making far more choices available, increasing competition, and lowering the cost. President Bush has endorsed this concept.

People could pick a plan that covers only the services they need and want. They would not be forced to buy state-mandated coverage for services such as hair transplants, acupuncture, or massage therapy that they do not want or need.

This legislation would not only cover the SCHIP population, but millions of others who don't have insurance now.

The Republicans should welcome a debate about how best to insure poor kids. If they present their ideas of tax credits, health savings accounts, and limited government subsidies, that would play almost anywhere against the bloated government proposals of the Democrats. The Reps have to stop presenting their ideas only in friendly settings though.

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