Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Democrats cave on SCHIP

Wow! They're caving on everything! At least they had the common sense to extend the program so that their desire to expand the program to cover adults won't effect the children or the price of cigars (I feel for the poor pastors who would have to go to the General Assembly without their cigar breaks and smoking parties or pay exorbitant prices to smoke).

The Democrats’ yearlong fight to boost federal spending on children’s health insurance ended with a whimper Tuesday.

After coming up short in their efforts to enact a $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — enduring two presidential vetoes along the way — congressional Democrats signed off on Republican demands to extend the program until 2009.

Rather than expiring just before the presidential and congressional elections next year, SCHIP will keep running through March 2009 under the plan originally conceived by House Republicans and hashed out by the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leaders late Monday.

The GOP stood fast against the Democratic bill, which received veto-proof margins in the Senate but came up about a dozen votes shy in the House, despite attracting some GOP support. In doing so, it also stood fast against a multifaceted public relations campaign waged by the Democrats, allied liberal organizations and practically every industry in the healthcare sector. That strategy appears to have paid off, with Democrats abandoning, for now, their plans to ramp up SCHIP.

The GOP claimed victory. “It’s certainly another example of the Democrats caving to the Republican position at the eleventh hour,” said a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Not only did the GOP prevent the Democrats from expanding the program, the minority party prevented the majority party from using an SCHIP vote and veto next fall as a wedge issue just before Election Day.