Providing health care for uninsured, low-income children. It's one of the most important things we can do to make sure our kids grow up to be healthy adults.
Certainly, it's our moral obligation. Seems like common sense, right?
But, inexplicably, President Bush has said, "No." He vetoed the bill to extend and strengthen the successful State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that, to date, has provided health insurance for roughly 6.6 million children of low-income working families.
As I said during a conference call with Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, and Bob Casey, it is mystifying that the President and his few congressional allies are saying that government involvement in health care is a step toward dangerous, socialized medicine.
I know my children were the beneficiaries of a government-run insurance program until they became adults. Members of Congress and their children are eligible for health care that's under the government's umbrella. The President and his are family as well. If it's good enough for congressional kids and the President's kids, it should be good for the low-income children who are desperate for health care coverage.
An override vote is scheduled in the U.S. House this week. For our children's sake, I urge you to join my fellow governors and me in urging Congress to overturn his senseless veto. Contact your Congressmen and women now and urge them to vote to override the Bush veto.
The House and Senate acted with tremendous bipartisanship to reauthorize SCHIP. If they overturn the President's veto, more than 10 million children and families in need would be able to afford health insurance.
SCHIP is an indisputable success. It enjoys broad bipartisan support. But, still, President Bush has stubbornly vetoed the program in an attempt to deny health care for uninsured children from low-income families.
This partnership -- SCHIP -- between the states and the federal government has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise troubled health care system. SCHIP has made it possible for millions of children to see a doctor, receive preventative care, and live healthier lives.
Those children are better-prepared to learn as students when they enter a classroom. They are better prepared to succeed as adults when they enter the workforce. In other words: Better health care for more children today means a stronger, more productive America in the years to come.
The President has threatened the great progress we've achieved. And we need to send him and congressional leaders a strong message on behalf of millions of kids who still need health care.
Bottom line: Each one of those children represents a reason for Congress to override the President's veto.