SCHIP Veto ‘Skewered’ Minority Children, Opinion Piece Says
President Bush's veto of the SCHIP reauthorization and expansion bill "skewered children of color," as the program has "been a lifeline for uninsured kids across the board, but especially minorities," Kai Wright, editor of BlackAids.org, writes in a Progressive Media Project/Tallassee Democrat opinion piece. According to data from Families USA, SCHIP since its inception has reduced the number of uninsured black children by almost half and the number of uninsured Hispanic and Asian-American children by nearly one-third. "Vast disparities remain, as racial and ethnic minorities still account for 60% of the roughly nine million uninsured kids," Wright says in the opinion piece.
Wright counters some of Bush's reasons for vetoing the bill, including that it would have extended coverage to undocumented immigrants and middle-class families and would have "cost too much." According to Wright, three-quarters of the children who would have been covered under the expansion provisions in the bill would be from families with annual incomes of lower than $41,300 for a family of four. In addition, the bill would have continued the existing policy of excluding all immigrants unless they have been in the U.S. for at least five years.
Wright says, "We've seen this playbook before: Repeat lies, hoping they will pass for truth" and "push ahead with a predetermined agenda, regardless of the facts on the ground." Wright concludes, "That approach created a foreign policy disaster, and it will spawn similarly disastrous results for the health of our children, no matter their color" (Wright, Progressive Media Project/Tallassee Democrat, 10/27).