President Bush’s veto today of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill marks the first round in a national fight about health care. The president chose the special interests of big insurance companies over the needs of millions of children who need coverage. The expansion of the children’s health program offers a glimmer of hope to families struggling to make ends meet.
President Bush admits that this program works. He knows that millions of children now go without adequate health care because their families can’t afford insurance, but he says he has an “ideological” problem with expanding the program because it might provide coverage to children whose families might otherwise find a way to pay for private insurance.
Legislators in both parties now must decide whether they stand with the president in defense of private insurance company profits or with children in need of health care. You wouldn’t think this was a hard choice.
Americans should understand the president’s veto begins the new debate on health care reform. Where your legislator stands on expanding children’s health care is a good indication of where they will stand on reforms needed to provide affordable health care for all—a question that will be at the center of our political debate in next year’s elections.