Delivered to the National Congress on the Un‐ and Under‐Insured December 11, 2007, Washington, D.C.
For those who prefer posturing and rank hypocrisy to informed policymaking, the recent debate over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, has been a veritable feast.
The hypocrisy and posturing have been bipartisan. Both sides of the aisle, both sides of Congress, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and both sides of the debate have been content to take outlandish and indefensible positions, while leaving the most important questions unasked and unanswered.
Let’s look at the Bush Administration’s approach to SCHIP. I for one am pleased that President Bush chose to veto Congress’ SCHIP expansion. If you had asked me one year ago whether I thought the president would stand in the way of reauthorization, I would have replied, “No way. SCHIP reauthorization will sail into law. There is no way President Bush would pick that fight.” In fact, people did ask me that and that’s what I told them. Yet the president just had to go and make me look stupid by taking a brave stand against a popular program.
That’s not to say that President Bush took a credible stand against this popular program. What were the president’s reasons for vetoing the SCHIP expansion?