When logic cannot work, try mouthing inane phrases to discredit a sound measure. That's the tactic of choice for our Republican lawmakers and our President once again. The issue at hand is extending and expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program so that it covers children of lower middle class families in addition to poorer children.
The House has passed this Bill 225-204 over vigorous objections by Republicans and threat of veto by President Bush. Their objection is that this would expand "socialized medicine, and Washington-run healthcare." Well, so what? If this form of healthcare works much better than the alternative (and there's every indication that it does) then why should those terms be any grounds for opposition? Two thirds of Americans favor universal coverage, leave alone this more popular issue of covering children.
Interestingly, while 5 Republicans voted for this bill, 10 Democrats opposed it. Those 10 probably caved in to lobbyists or constituent special interests. I'm guessing their opposition arises because of the way this program is financed: by increases in tobacco taxes and cuts in subsidies to the Medicare drug prescription plan.
Paul Krugman wrote a good piece about this today in the New York Times, though it is unfortunately available only to subscribers. Here's the part I particularly liked:
"...The bill is so good that it has Republicans spluttering. “The bill uses children as pawns,” declared Representative Pete Sessions of Texas. Yes, the Democrats are exploiting children — by providing them with health care.
The horror, the horror!
What’s especially encouraging is the way House Democrats were willing to take on the insurance companies. The bill pays for children’s health care in part by cutting subsidies to Medicare Advantage, a privatization scheme that yields big profits for insurers, but that the budget office estimates would cost taxpayers $54 billion in excess payments over the next five years...."
Of course Bush may well veto this, but with all their spin that will probably cost Republicans big in the 2008 elections.