Thursday, July 19, 2007

A sad and pathetic threat*

Kemp’s Note: I know I haven’t posted anything political here since I started TBWA, but this story just pissed me off so much, I had to take any soapbox I could get to let my anger known. Here ya go…

As I mentioned briefly in this morning’s “’BushWhack’ing”, there is a bi-partisan effort underway in the Senate to renew a program that provides health insurance to poor children, and they’ve reached a compromise that would expand the program by $35 billion over five years, an increase agreed to by both Democrats and republicans.

The program currently insures 6.6 million low income children from families that do not qualify for Medicaid, but are still too poor to afford private insurance coverage, and under the Senate’s expansion plan, an additional 3.3 million children would be covered under the program that was developed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and republican Sens. Charles Grassley (r-IA) and Orrin Hatch (r-UT), among others…. and they plan to pay for this with a scant $0.61 increase on the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

“President” Bush opposes both.

Now I could give a rats-ass as to the cigarette tax… but the one that really frosts my preserves is his opposition to insuring more children whose only strike against them is being born into a poor family.

This isn’t a partisan issue, as republicans have tried pleading with Bush to compromise with Democrats on the legislation and he’s ignored them (and he wonders why no one likes him and why no gop candidates want their picture with him… it’s because he’s a train wreck that’s turning into a disaster who only cares about his beliefs and no one else’s, but I’m getting off-topic)

And no, he doesn’t have a better solution in mind; he wants to kill the expansion because… well, let’s let him speak for himself;

“My concern is that when you expand eligibility . . . you're really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government.”

You read that right… he’s essentially saying that he cares more about private insurance companies than he does about children's health, (which seems, to me, to exemplify how he and other republicans don't care about children once they are outside the womb or outside the Petri dish)

Bush went on and said that he objects to the proposal based on “philosophical grounds”…

‘Philosophical grounds????’ Whose philosophical grounds; insurance and healthcare companies?? Or more specifically, insurance and healthcare company’s political gop contributions???

And what’s more, his comments seem to imply that he wants private insurance only… now I could get into the whole socialized medicine universal health care spiel, but after reading this, I’m just too frustrated to do it.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), the House Democratic Caucus chairman, said that he’s “bewildered” that Bush would be fighting an expansion in funding for a program that is not only supported by Democrats, but republicans as well. Said Mr. Emanuel;
“This is the chance for him to finally be a uniter and not a divider. You have consensus across party and ideology, and a unity on the most important domestic issue, health care -- except for one person.”
Bush’s ignorance here is unnerving… this isn’t a program to increase handing out condoms in schools or to teach evolution, two things that cause conservative’s skin to crawl… it’s ensuring that children who can not fend for themselves and have been born into situations that they are not able to control or change have health coverage…

I mean… shouldn’t it be a necessity to ensure that children (who are, as trite as it may sound, our future) are healthy?

Billions and billions of dollars for Iraq… but let’s screw poor kids.

The man is a tool… and I hope Bush can explain to the sick and dying kids what his "philosophical" reasons are for letting them suffer… and I won’t even bring-up his pre-presidential pledge to be a “compassionate conservative” because he obviously only understands the definition of one of those words.

Your guess as to which one I’m inferring to…

*cross-posted at The BushWhacked Administration


Lance said...

Amen Kemp.

I read that this morning and I had the exact same reaction. You said EXACTLY what I was thinking. Right on! Oh and he is neither compassionate or conservative.

Becky said...

He is so far removed from "the poor" that he has no idea what it's like to be without health care, let alone insurance.

"They just go to the ER, don't they?"

Gidge said...

Bush is such a douche that I can't even read this stuff because I get so freaking annoyed.

I mean it's madness. He doesn't have a clue what it means to do without.

Mr Big Dubya said...

I just want to comment on your statement regarding the scant increase of $.61 per pack of cigarettes. This is, of course, a main thrust of the bill and, naturally, resonates with a large part of the electorate. However, one aspect that receives scant attention, but should have some sway with you (based on some of our past discussions and on your blogger pic) is that the tax on cigars as a result of this bill goes through the roof. If this passes, kiss the flat $.05 tax per cigar bye-bye. You and I will be looking at upwards of $10 tax per cigar depending on the price of the cigar.

"Under the measure being considered, a cigar would be taxed at 53% of its wholesale price. For example, if a cigar costs $5 now, under the new tax plan the price would increase by more than half - to just over $7.50. A cigar that costs $20 would be taxed $10 under the new plan."

This does not sit well with me at all. What does sit well with me is actually removing some of the government policies that have made health markets dysfunctional. The more states expand the benefits, the more government has to pick up the tab. We can start by reforming the tax code so individuals who buy health insurance for themselves can get the same tax break that employer-provided health insurance gets. We can also allow people to cross state lines, thereby jumping their own state's onerous mandates, to buy health insurance.

Finally, the plan gets insurance to an additional 2.3 million children, but simply replaces private insurance for another 1.7 million (no word on how many adults lose their private coverage under this plan). Replacement is not a euphemism for expansion.

Mrs Big Dubya said...

I agree health insurance is a monumental problem in this country and that it needs to be tackled.

I also agree that smoking is a dangerous and filthy habit -- that should be discouraged, but it IS still legal.

Punishing smokers with a "sin" tax doesn't make a lot of sense to me because the there are more smokers living below the poverty line than above it.

I would love to think that this increase in cost would encourage them to quit smoking, but that may not necessarily be the case -- so who's getting harmed by this regressive tax? the working poor and who are you trying to help? the children of the working poor.

I'll admit that the solution at first blush is creative -- but after further consideration, it just doesn't make sense to me. If you want to tax something -- choose a progressive tax, something that won't hurt the people (or in this case the parents of the people) you are trying to help.

Let's look at tort reform -- make it possible for doctors to practice medicine without needing excessive malpractice insurance -- this would certainly bring health care costs down -- enabling more and more to be insured.

Perhaps we could all rise above foul-mouthed name calling and try to recognize that although you may not agree with a position, it's not necessarily stupid. We are better than that, aren't we?

Ryan said...

Bush pisses me off.

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