THE BLOG
11/03/2006 04:21 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Bushies to Poor Babies: No Healthcare for You

From our avowedly pro-life, -pregnancy, -snowflake-baby, -fetus, -embryo, and -blastocyst Administration has come a brand new law concerning babies. In the throes of a tight election year, we might expect an attempt to garner some votes by replacing the inane idea of health-care accounts as the solution to 40 million people without health insurance with a proposal for more, not less, health care for American babies. No such luck.

The Bushies' new law actually withholds insurance for routine health care from infants born into poor families until the newcomer is approved for Medicaid coverage, which can take weeks.

The new law, written by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), is nestled, improbably, in the Deficit Reduction Act. It was reportedly intended as a weapon against illegal immigration. Heretofore, children born in the U.S--citizens all--who had the misfortune of belonging to illegal immigrant parents were entitled to immediate Medicaid coverage for up to one year. The principle was that tending to the routine health care needs of our most vulnerable citizens can only help create a healthier citizenry.

Instead, with the new law, the child is not covered immediately, through, for example, an application made by the hospital social worker on the child's behalf. No. The illegal immigrant parents must now bring a birth certificate or hospital record to the Medicaid office and apply for coverage for their child. That must be scary to someone who is in the U.S. illegally, whose greatest fear must be deportation. This means some parents will not apply for Medicaid for their newborn, who will thus have to go without.

Is this the way to treat "innocent life"? Where are all the troops who descended on Florida to keep poor Terry Schaivo alive when she was actually braindead? Where are all the holier-than- thous who don't want scientists to touch a single cell on a blastacyst in the interest of saving other lives? Where are all those pro-life people to whom all life is supposedly so damn sacred?

Silent, obviously. Giving more proof, as if we needed it, that they could really care less what happens to children once they're born. Taking care of children takes money and creativity and commitment and community. It takes a social justice contract with America, which you won't find on the Republican agenda.