Bush, you dirty, slimy, scrap of moldy jock itch on America's groin...
Socialized Medicine? It's About Time!
September 27, 2007
By Bill Press
You can tell a lot about a president by the bills he vetoes.
The veto, as set forth in the Constitution, is the president's ultimate weapon. It's the one time he can tell Congress to buzz off.
The veto, then, is used only when the president feels so strongly about something he believes he must block it at all costs. Now consider the vetoes of George W. Bush. In seven years, he's vetoed only two bills: legislation to bring troops home from Iraq, and legislation to increase federal funding for stem cell research. Now he has vowed to veto a third: a bill expanding health care for children.
Yes, you can tell a lot about a president by the bills he vetoes: You can tell George W. Bush doesn't care much about saving human lives.
Bush's veto of the children's health care legislation is his most cruel and cynical yet, especially for the reasons given. First, Bush complains expansion of the program will cost $35 billion over five years. A lot of money, to be sure — but far less than the $190 billion Bush wants to spend next year alone in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also, knowingly and incorrectly, contends that Congress would allow families making $83,000 a year to apply. The fact is, because of the high cost of living in their state, New York officials did ask permission to extend the program to families in that income range, but were turned down.
After arguing cost, Bush dredges up a tired old red herring: providing health insurance to kids, he warns, puts us on the slippery slope to “socialized medicine.” To which I respond: “Socialized medicine? Bring it on!”
The phrase “socialized medicine” is an old smear, dating back to 1945, when President Harry Truman became the first president to propose universal health care. He was opposed by the American Medical Association, which — in the early days of the Red Scare — easily convinced Americans that letting government get in the health care business was the first step to godless communism. In trying to pin that charge on today's children's health program, George Bush just as dead wrong.
The State Children's Health Insurance Program, created by Republican members of Congress in 1997, has been phenomenally successful. A partnership between states and federal governments, it already covers 6 million poor children. Its expansion, which Bush has vowed to veto, would cover an additional 4 million kids — with an income limitation of $41,300 for a family of four. The program works so well that extending coverage is supported by 43 out of 50 governors, including most Republican governors.
In Congress, the bill also has broad, bipartisan support. Its champions are Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah, hardly godless commies. Ironically, this year's legislation is also supported by the AMA, apparently no longer afraid of “socialized medicine,” and the big insurance companies, who don't make much money selling insurance to the poor anyway and would prefer having the federal government handle it.
As for “socialized medicine,” we crossed that bridge a long time ago. Medicare today successfully serves over 45 million seniors. The Department of Veterans Affairs has 8 million veterans and family members enrolled in its health care system. Both are well-managed, highly-effective and cost-efficient examples of “socialized medicine.”
Coming from George W. Bush, the charge “socialized medicine” has a particularly hollow ring. This is the man, after all, who considers “No Child Left Behind” the crowning achievement of his administration. That program, too, is run by the federal government, in cooperation with the states. What is “No Child Left Behind” but a case of “socialized education”? How sad that Bush is willing to test kids for math, yet refuses to test them for hepatitis.
By raising the red flag of “socialized medicine,” Bush is just trying to hide the real issue, which is: What is the true responsibility of government? Certainly, if government has any responsibility at all, it includes helping the poorest and weakest among us. If we refuse to take care of our kids, for God's sake, who are we?Perhaps, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested, Bush's problem is simply that he's reading his Bible upside down. When Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” he didn't mean “Make the little children suffer.”