Thursday, July 19, 2007

Beyond Stupid

Most of the planet agrees that the war in Iraq is a disaster. It makes me wretch just thinking about it. The whole scene makes me angry, but my deep-seeded disdain for George W. Bush is a result of his tragic domestic policy decisions. The cream of the crop is his veto of the stem-cell research legislation. All in the name of some misguided religious dogma. Now he is threatening to veto legislation that would expand health care coverage for kids...a bill that would be paid for by taxes on cigarettes. What shame!

Check out the following news item off the Reuters wire:

By Stephanie Beasley

LANDOVER, Maryland (Reuters) - A veto threat by President George W. Bush over a measure to expand a government health program for children triggered outrage on Wednesday from congressional Democrats and advocacy groups.

A Senate panel is considering a proposal to boost funding for children's health insurance by $35 million, an expansion that would be funded by higher federal taxes on cigarettes.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, covers 6.1 million children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for private insurance.

During a visit to a factory in the Washington suburb of Landover, Bush said he supported the health program's initial concept of helping poor families.

But Bush, who earlier this year unveiled a plan to revamp the tax code with the aim of making health care more affordable, said the Senate plan would in some cases extend government health coverage to families making as much as $80,000 a year.

He said that would increase the government's reach into health care and distort the market. "I really do believe that the government involvement in health care will lead to less quality care and rationing over time," Bush said.

"If Congress continues to insist upon expanding health care through the S-CHIP program -- which, by the way, would entail a huge tax increase for the American people -- I'll veto the bill," he added.

Former Sen. John Edwards, a Democratic presidential candidate, called Bush's veto threat "heartless and shortsighted."

"The obstacle to expanding health care in America is none other than George Bush. On his watch, the number of uninsured Americans has grown by 5 million, while he remains ideologically committed to the profits of private insurers," Edwards said.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who lost to Bush in the 2004 election, accused him of clinging to "unworkable proposals" for health care and a "wrong-headed tax scheme" and urged him not to veto the children's health legislation.

Bush contends his plan to provide tax breaks to people to help them buy private health insurance would make health care more affordable and reduce the number of uninsured Americans.

But Bruce Lesly, president of the family advocacy group First Focus, said uninsured poor children would not benefit from the deductions because they would not cover enough of families' costs.

"Unfortunately, the biggest threat to the health and well being of our nation's children is the Administration's own budget proposals and veto threats," Lesly said in a statement.

This is unacceptable.

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