Monday, October 15, 2007

SCHIP, The Frosts and Catholics United

October 18 is fast approaching. On that day, once the Senate votes are counted, we will know whether or not the President's veto of SCHIP will stand. As is hardly shocking, the rhetoric and campaigning will continue to escalate between now and then.

A quick sampling unearths the following news items related to this piece of legislation.

As noted in one of my recent posts, the conservative blogosphere has been in attack mode ever since the airing of Graeme Frost's pro-SCHIP radio address. As The Wall Street Journal notes, this approach seems to have backfired:

That narrative was bolstered this week by some conservative bloggers. After the Schip veto, Democrats chose a 12-year-old boy named Graeme Frost to deliver a two-minute rebuttal. While that was a political stunt, the Washington habit of employing "poster children" is hardly new. But the Internet mob leapt to some dubious conclusions and claimed the Frost kids shouldn't have been on Schip in the first place.

As it turns out, they belonged to just the sort of family that a modest Schip is supposed to help. One lesson from this meltdown is the limit of argument by anecdote. The larger point concerns policy assumptions. Everyone concedes it is hard for some lower-income families like the Frosts to find affordable private health coverage. The debate is over what the government should do about it.

Sheila Suess Kennnedy, associate professor of law and public policy at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Indianapolis, corrects the President's facts in the Indianapolis Star:

We can discount the inartful and downright inaccurate descriptions of the bill coming from the White House. In a press conference, Bush complained that the bill wasn't really focused on the poor -- that it would cover children whose families earned up to $83,000 a year. Several senators, including Charles Grassley, a Republican sponsor of the legislation, were quick to correct him.

The bill maintains current law, and limits the program to children whose families earn up to twice the federal poverty level. That would be $41,300 for a family of four.

Daily Kos also notes an unexpected twist to the debate as a segment of the pro-life movement gets involved in supporting the progressive stance:

Catholics United will launch a radio advertising campaign targeting ten members of Congress whose opposition to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) have compromised their pro-life voting records.

The ads, which feature a mother urging her Congressional Representative to support SCHIP, will primarily air on Christian and talk radio stations from Monday Oct. 15 to Wednesday, Oct. 17 as Congress approaches a critical Oct. 18 vote to override President Bush's veto of bipartisan SCHIP legislation.


The script for the radio commercial reads: "I'm the mother of three children, and I'm pro-life. I believe that protecting the lives our children must be our nation's number one moral priority. That's why I'm concerned that Congressman X says he's pro-life but votes against health care for poor children. That's not pro-life. That's not pro-family. Tell Congressman X to vote for health care for children. Call him today at XXXX, that's XXXXX."

We will try to keep you informed on the latest news on this subject between now and the October 18 vote.

SOURCE: "SCHIP Howlers" 10/13/07
SOURCE: "Veto Sends Message About Priorities" 10/15/07
SOURCE: "SCHIP Stories: Republican's Getting Grief From All Angles" 10/11/07
photo courtesy of Tony Wan Kenobi on Flickr under this Creative Commons license

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