A White House spokesman explained that the president will veto a proposal in Congress because it “would dramatically expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, … encouraging many to drop private coverage, to go on the government-subsidized program.”
One can see why the President would not want to help poorer children get health insurance at low cost. We already knew he doesn’t care about black people, and had long suspected his antipathy to the poor.
The proposal in Congress would add $25–40 billion to the program, which is administered by the states. The new funding would be paid for by an increase in the cigarette tax. Raising that tax would have the added benefit of reducing smoking, a major risk factor for parents and children. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the added spending would cover 4.1 million uninsured children, ensuring preventive care in a critical period.
The President also objects that the bill does not include his proposals to reform health insurance, but the Senate chairman responsible for the bill explained that the Children’s Health Insurance Program must be funded by September, and the unpopular President’s suggestions don’t have enough traction to move through Congress on that timeline. Senator Baucus, at least, would rather put children’s health above political concerns.