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Let's Stand Up For America's Children

s-chip.jpgOur nation's poorest children need your help protecting and improving S-CHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

We spent billions upon billion on the War in Iraq, bloating our national debt at the same time we were providing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and now the Republicans are out to deny health care to the poor children in our country.

There is a simple fix for this, but President Bush and his posse of defenders are still playing politics with our children's well-being. If Bush vetoes this bipartisan effort 15 states will have no funding left at the end of this month to continue this program.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced a proposal Friday that would add $35 billion over five years to the program, adding 4 million people to the 6.6 million already participating. It would be financed by raising the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents to $1 per pack.

The idea is overwhelmingly supported by Congress' majority Democrats, who scheduled it for a vote Tuesday in the House. It has substantial Republican support as well.

But Bush has a promised a veto. Tax cuts for the rich, and take away health care for poor children in this country. The answer to the question "Who would allow such a thing to happen?" is in the mirror on your bathroom wall.

This is our nation's second highest priority after the Iraq War. This week spend 10 minutes helping to make this happen. Call, write, act - spend just 10 minutes this week contacting the White House and your representatives in Washington, and make a difference.

Let's stop the Republicans this time. We can do this... - Lee Ward

The following is the Democratic response by Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania to President Bush's radio address to the nation on Sept. 22, 2007:

Gov_Ed_Rendell.jpgGood morning. This is Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. In the next few days, Congress will consider one of the most important pieces of legislation of the year - the renewal and expansion of the nation's health insurance program for children called "S-CHIP".

A bipartisan group of congressional leaders has negotiated a compromise that is designed to cover a large portion of the 8.7 million kids in our country who do not have health insurance. This legislation should be passed with strong bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. In recent days the Administration has tried to turn this into a partisan issue and has threatened to veto.

The health of our children is far too important for partisan politics as usual. A veto battle in Washington would expose millions of children to the risk of losing insurance. That's simply unacceptable. Our leaders have an obligation to enact this bill quickly and the President should sign it immediately. In fact, nothing speaks more to our obligations as a society than the need to provide for the health and well being of our children.

The nation's governors have been working to expand health insurance coverage for children in a bipartisan way. Responding to the individual needs of their states, they have crafted programs that stretch public dollars and reach into communities where private insurance companies are not offering affordable coverage.

In Pennsylvania, last year we created the "Cover all Kids" program. And now we are providing coverage to 93% of the children in families where the income is less than 250% of the federal poverty level. Last winter, with the approval of the Bush Administration, we expanded our program to cover even more kids. But Pennsylvania is not alone in creating innovative approaches to covering more children.

California, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, Kansas and Connecticut are among the other states leading the way. The Governors of these states are moving on this problem because the private insurance market is not.

Unfortunately, the Administration last month changed its position and announced new rules for S-CHIP that could halt the efforts of these and other states to cover more kids. If the Administration is serious about solving our health care crisis, it should be expanding, not cutting back this program which has made private health insurance affordable for millions of children. Congress should reverse this latest action when it votes on this new legislation.

The S-CHIP program expires on September 30 - just 8 days from now. If the President vetoes this bill, 15 states will be without funding in October and many thousands of children will lose their coverage. The remaining states will feel the pinch in the months to come. Congress has been working hard on the legislation to renew the program and make more resources available for it. It has been difficult work to craft a bipartisan plan and to make sure it is paid for.

When the nation's governors met together in July, a bipartisan group of 43 of us joined in a letter to congressional leaders urging them to do just that. Now all Members of Congress and the White House have an opportunity to enact this critical program.

If you support providing health insurance coverage to more of our needy kids, I hope you will call, write, or e-mail your Members of Congress, your Senators and particularly the White House to let them know now is the time for Congress to pass this legislation and for the President to sign it. I recorded this message earlier this week and you are hearing it on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in my religion. On this day we are taught we must atone for our sins and remember our obligation to each another. So I can think of no better day to speak to nation on the urgency of ensuring that every child in this county has health care.

I'm Governor Ed Rendell. Thank you for listening.
----------

It's up to us, folks. The Bush adminstration changed thier position because of election-year politics -- they're taking heat from conservatives over the fact that they've wasted billions upon billions of US taxpayer dollars over their failed effort in Iraq.

In an effort to make ammends, and mollify the conservative base, the Bush adminstration has set out to screw America's poor children.

Spend just 10 short minutes calling, writing -- stopping this from happening. Spread the word. Call your representives and make this happen -- stop the Bush veto!- Lee


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Comments (9)

allen:

Lee
While I feel sorry for those children without proper medical care, it's not my fault they have lazy ass parents who won't find a job with benefits. Being retired, on a decent income, I am, like a lot of retired Americans, being taxed out of house and home.

I agree those tax cuts for the upper income brackets was wrong. But it shouldn't be up to retired people getting taxed to pay for this. Between the cities, county's, state, and the feds, I am getting taxed out of house and home.

How much longer can the poor and fixed income people afford to pay. I don't agree with a lot of the GOP BS, but the Demo's just want to keep taxing. How about cutting waste in gov't? Restore those tax cuts on the rich, stop this screwed up war, quit giving out foreign aid. All kinds of way to have the money without being taxed some more.

Lee Ward:

If the cigarette tax hits the retired people proportionally hard you may have a point, allen, but I'm not sure that's the case.

I recall reading that the poor are over-represented in the ranks of cigarette smokers -- doesn't that mean that the poor will be hit harder by cigarette taxes?

And won't higher cigarette taxes then likely lead to fewer smokers among the poor -- reducing the impact of second-hand smoke on poor children.

Seems to me as if the poor children win again under that analysis.

But do you have any evidence that it is "retired people getting taxed to pay for this"? I'm not arguing - just asking...

Allen:

When taxes are raised, everyone (almost) across the board is involved, which is very evident that I would also be paying more in taxes.

Lee Ward:

Even a cigarette tax? Not me, I don't buy cigarettes.

Darby:

So lets look at this from a different perspective.

"And won't higher cigarette taxes then likely lead to fewer smokers among the poor -- reducing the impact of second-hand smoke on poor children." -Lee Ward

I am not going to argue that point Lee, you're right. It will reduce the impact of 2nd hand smoke on "poor" children.

But think of it this way...

Most small stores/gas stations only make money on 2 things. Cigarette and beer sales. Having quite of bit of experience behind the counter at the gas station and my mom being a store manager, along with my aunt. I can tell you for an absolute fact that this is true.

How does increasing a tax on smokes affect the bottom line? Very simply it takes revenue away from the little guys. You have less smokers, you have less profit, so how do stores make up for it?

"Even a cigarette tax? Not me, I don't buy cigarettes." -Lee Ward

Why, you must raise the price of everything else in the store to cover your lost income.

So yeah, though you don't buy smokes Lee, you will in the end have to pay for it. Because you know the little guys are the ones in the end that get stepped on by taxes being raised. Mom and Pop gas stations. Even local chains.

Hell, Cumberland farms regular sized chocolates are 89 cents each... for a god damned chocolate bar, almost a dollar!

Simple fact is shit rolls down hill. It sounds real good on paper. But in reality it just raises the cost for everything else to make up for lost incomes because there are less smokers. I'm not trying to justify smoking to anyone, it's a dirty habit.

Looking back on my life I wish I never started, but quitting is super hard, I tried. It didn't stick. But that's not the point I'm trying to make.

the Republicans are out to deny health care to the poor children in our country

ho-hum the same "Rethuglicans want to kill kids and old people" lie day in and day out because Republicans aren't going along with a backdoor attempt to further socialize healthcare.

This is why Dems resist real healthcare reform, because it interfers with Hillary!Care v2.0 or Edwards "we'll going to force you to see a doctor on our schedule" Care.

hansel2:

How does increasing a tax on smokes affect the bottom line? Very simply it takes revenue away from the little guys. You have less smokers, you have less profit, so how do stores make up for it?

I find it hard to defend smokers - and having been one many years back, there's very little in the guise of cost increase that would have made me quit that quickly back then. I would have just bitten the bullet and paid the new price.

The idea that there is an argument here - and such an elaborate tapestry of economic descent as Darby is making this - is pathetic. If Bush backed this bill, I doubt Darby or others like him would be getting into a lather over it. Very likely, they'd be defending the bill against all naysayers. That's the hypocracy.

If you are so enamored of your Commander in Chief that you're willing to compromise what I think is - or should be - an overall agreement that everything should be done to protect children, both medically and otherwise, than you are truly lost.

And life is not always as simple as the suggestion that these parents are all lazy, or uneducated or didn't have enough foresight in their careers. There but for the grace of God go I - know what that means?

Darby:

Actually, Hansel2, I don't agree with everything the president believes in or says. For example the Dubai Ports deal I was against. I was against his veto of the stem cell funding bill. Those are two that I can think of off the top of my head... So even if Bush was for this bill, I would still be against it. It's a bad idea and if, as Lee pointed out, it makes people quit smoking the financial burden it'll put on small chains will be very felt by all.

But thank you for telling me what I think. I appreciate it when you clarified my stance on the president for me.

hansel2:

It's a bad idea and if, as Lee pointed out, it makes people quit smoking the financial burden it'll put on small chains will be very felt by all.

So, lets be clear. This is your position: Overall, it's a bad idea (your words) and the more people who quit smoking will put a financial burden on small businesses that sell cigarettes.

Simple metaphor: If small businesses sold cyanide, it was a large part of their business, and people were dying from consuming it, you would be against increasing the prices and possibly saving some lives because it would hurt those businesses financial outcomes?

Darby, this has got to be the stupidest compromise of beliefs I have ever heard - and one of the major reasons there is a disconnect between the platform of the current republican party and the wants of the majority of Americans. Businesses will survive the waining profits of the cigarette companies, just as businesses have survived the disappearance of any number of "staples" over the centuries. To make a choice for small business needs against the health of Americans and their children is as morally corrupt a position as I've heard.

I can only hope your position on this is a little more layered than what you've offered here.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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