No Medication for Kids, No Stimulation For the Economy

Bill Scher

As expected, today the conservative minority in the House obstructed the public will, sustained President Bush’s veto of bipartisan legislation and denied four million kids health insurance.

Advocates for children hoped that they could gain more votes by stressing that the looming recession makes it more urgent to increase funding to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. But they couldn’t squeeze even one more conservative vote, as obstructionist congresspeople kept their head in the sand.

First Focus recently explained how increasing funds for SCHIP would stimulate the economy by helping strapped state governments:

Many states are required to balance their budgets, and economic downturns often result in cuts to crucial services like SCHIP and Medicaid. When states cut these programs, children and families face the consequences, such as unexpectedly high medical costs, and their ability to contribute to the wider economy collapses. Increasing federal assistance to states will ensure that the health of millions of low-income children does not become an obstacle to economic growth.

Yet conservatives refused to acknowledge reality. The Associated Press reported:

Some Republicans said expanding SCHIP was not an economic stimulus.

“We don’t want to squander money to pay for health insurance for those who can afford it themselves,” said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga.

Who can “afford” it?!

What is it about 9 million kids whose parents currently can’t afford health insurance don’t they understand?

And with recession looming, that number may go up very soon.