A Legacy of Neglect?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Christopher Lee's news story ["Child Health Insurance Stalls in Congress," July 15] did an excellent job explaining the proposals Congress is considering for the State Children's Health Insurance Program's next five years.

Today, we have a $5 billion-a-year program, which serves 6.9 million uninsured children. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the Senate Finance Committee have a bipartisan approach that would provide $60 billion over five years, incorporating a $35 billion increase. The House seeks $75 billion, up $50 billion. President Bush wants $30 billion -- up $5 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office says the president's proposal won't cover the need.

While $30 billion sounds sizable, the United States is spending $12 billion a month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Spending Mr. Bush's $6 billion per year on health insurance for millions of the nation's most vulnerable children would be a paltry sum, making Mr. Bush look like a modern-day Scrooge who has not yet met the Ghost of Christmas Past. Where is the president's conscience? What does this say about our nation's priorities?

As Mr. Bush ponders his legacy, I submit that this issue is not part of it. This should not be a Democratic or Republican issue but an American issue.



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