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ABC Attacks Bush for Threat To 'Cut' Children's Health Insurance

     The title for a segment about children’s health insurance on “World News” August 26 might as well have been “Bush Hates Uninsured Children.”

 

     “ABC’s Kate Snow reports tonight on a fierce debate over whether the White House is now trying to dramatically cut the program. It’s part of our series – ‘The Uncovered,’” said ABC “World News” anchor Dan Harris.

 

     “Dramatically cut?” That’s simply not the case.

     The title for a segment about children’s health insurance on “World News” August 26 might as well have been “Bush Hates Uninsured Children.”

 

     “ABC’s Kate Snow reports tonight on a fierce debate over whether the White House is now trying to dramatically cut the program. It’s part of our series – ‘The Uncovered,’” said ABC “World News” anchor Dan Harris.

 

     “Dramatically cut?” That’s simply not the case.

 

     Bush wants to expand the $25 billion program by $5 billion a year, but without providing a gateway to socialized medicine, but “World News” did not include that in its report.

 

     “[T]he program is going beyond the initial intent of helping poor children,” Bush said in a speech July 10. “It’s now aiming at encouraging more people to get on government health care.”

 

     Both houses of Congress passed its own version to expand the entitlement program State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and will attempt to iron out the differences between the bills in conference. The Senate plan would increase spending $35 billion over five years, from $25 billion to $60 billion. The House would add $50 billion over five years.

 

     Should Congress reconcile its differences and move forward, the bill would be subject to a Bush veto.

 

     “Over the past decade, state governments across the country have gradually expanded who’s eligible for the children’s health insurance program,” said ABC correspondent Kate Snow.

 

     Indeed, state governments have expanded the program. The broadcast pointed out that a family earning as much as $73,000 annually in New Jersey would be eligible for coverage under the expanded SCHIP legislation.

 

     According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines, to be living below the poverty line, a family of four would have to have a household income of $20,000 – far below what the SCHIP legislation would cover. For a family of eight, the household income would have to be $33,600 a year to be considered below the poverty line – an income far below the $73,000 benchmark set by the pending SCHIP legislation.

 

     “We've got a ready-made program here that’s working,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) a proponent of the $35 billion expansion. “We shouldn’t change something that’s working.”

 

     The report did not include anyone from the House or the Senate who voted against the massive increase passed by Congress, nor did it explain how much Congress wants to “dramatically increase” the program – $35 to 50 billion over five years.

 

     “World News” also left out the enormous tax increase that would be required to pay for SCHIP expansion – a 156-percent tax increase on cigarettes, and a more than 20,000-percent increase on cigars (up to $10 per cigar).