Today the President vetoed the controversial SCHIP bill that passed the house by a vote of 265-159 last Tuesday. The House will not take up a provision to override the veto until October 17th as Democrat leadership knows they don't have the votes (at least 15 short) and they hope that liberal groups can take the next 2 weeks to blast Republicans in their districts in hopes of persuading 15 members of Congress to switch their position.
As I have noted in earlier Blogs, no one has argued against the bill because they don’t want children’s healthcare. In fact, the President has called for a $5 Billion increase in the program and I think children’s healthcare is something we can all get behind and support, but this is simply not a bill to provide healthcare to poor children.
SCHIP will cost the government over $4,000 per year for every newly insured child, compared to $2,300 per year to add a child to a private insurance plan. In order to disguise the $40 billion in spending the Senate proposes to cut SCHIP by 80% in 2013, of course the supporters of this bill do not really intend to cut SCHIP, which would force millions of kids off the program, so the overall cost of the bill is closer to $110 billion, which more than doubles the cost of the current program.
I also did a blog post yesterday on the “sin tax” that would be imposed on smokers in order to fund this vastly expanded version of SCHIP which is just totally unrealistic.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has indicated that cigarette taxes are one of the most regressive taxes, that is, a tax that falls more heavily on lower income individuals as a percentage of income. Furthermore, this proposal has a faulty premise and will cost taxpayers more. With a shrinking tobacco market, this tax uses declining revenues to pay for an expanding program. According to estimates, it would take 22 million new smokers in the United States in the next 5 years to pay for this program.
In addition and what is becoming true to form for recent Democrat proposals , this bill makes it easier for illegal immigrants to get healthcare. It weakens requirements to prove citizenship creating an “expresslane” provision that allows a mere personal statement of citizenship in order to qualify to receive these benefits.
The Democrat leadership can delay the vote to override for the next two weeks, but as the facts become clearer to the American public, it should just solidify the resolve of those opposed to this terrible piece of legislation.