Tuesday, August 21, 2007

‘Compassionate conservatism’ for kids

Not only has the Bush White House strongly resisted a bipartisan congressional effort to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Plan to include 4 million uninsured American children, now our “compassionate conservative” president is forcing states to limit access for kids, too.
The Bush administration, continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, has adopted new standards that would make it much more difficult for New York, California and others to extend coverage to children in middle-income families. […]

After learning of the new policy, some state officials said yesterday that it could cripple their efforts to cover more children and would impose standards that could not be met.
“We are horrified at the new federal policy,” said Ann Clemency Kohler, deputy commissioner of human services in New Jersey. “It will cause havoc with our program and could jeopardize coverage for thousands of children.”

Apparently, that doesn’t matter. For Bush, it doesn’t matter that more U.S. children would go without healthcare; it doesn’t even matter that this latest effort would impose burdensome regulations from the federal government on states (some of which are run by Republican governors) who want to do more on their own to expand healthcare access. What matters is Bush’s philosophical resistance to a popular government program that offers uninsured children a chance.

Apparently, when you’re a failed, lame-duck president with a Nixon-like approval rating, rigid ideology is all you have left.

- Steve Benen, Crooks and Liars

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