“…we’re standing on our principle that poor kids ought to come first.”
Which prominent member of Congress said that this morning? Was it:
A. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, explaining the plan of House Democrats to keep pushing for an expansion of the S-CHIP program despite President Bush’s veto, or
B. House Minority Leader John Boehner, declaring his intention to support said veto?
It was, weirdly enough, B. Now, I’ve been following Republican doublespeak for a while now, but this may well set a new standard for absurdity. Follow the illogic with me, folks.
The United States, alone among the big industrial democracies, relies upon the private sector to provide healthcare to the majority of its citizens. (Read this for an amazing summary of the problems inherent in that system.) As a result, Americans pay about twice as much per capita for medical care than their Western European counterparts. Not all of us are left completely out to dry, however, as senior citizens are covered by Medicare and those who live below the federal poverty level ($20,650 a year for a family of four) are eligible for Medicaid.
However, as healthcare costs increase and wages remain constant, a growing number of families have found themselves in the unfortunate position of being “too wealthy” to qualify for Medicaid, but too poor to afford private coverage. Recognizing this problem, Congress enacted S-CHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) in 1997. What it does, in a nutshell, is extend Medicaid eligibility to children in families whose incomes lie above the poverty line, but below a certain threshold set by individual states.
So to review… This is a program which gives healthcare to children who would otherwise be unable to receive it. Its expansion would increase the number of children who get said healthcare by almost 4 million. And by supporting a veto that would prevent this bill from passing, John Boehner and his fellow Republicans are supporting “the principle that poor kids ought to come first.”
How on earth does someone say that without the irony causing their brain to explode?
More on this fight later, but I couldn’t let that quote go without some sort of comment.