This week's Democratic radio address is a response to President Bush's threatened veto of the bi-partisan, widely supported S-CHIP Children's Health Care legislation recently passed by both the House and Senate.
Hi, my name is Graeme Frost. I'm 12 years old and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. Most kids my age probably havent heard of CHIP, the Childrens Health Insurance Program. But I know all about it, because if it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today.
CHIP is a law the government made to help families like mine afford healthcare for their kids. Three years ago, my family was in a really bad car accident. My younger sister Gemma and I were both hurt. I was in a coma for a week and couldn't eat or stand up or even talk at first. My sister was even worse.
I was in the hospital for five-and-a-half months and I needed a big surgery. For a long time after that, I had to go to physical therapy after school to get stronger. But even though I was hurt badly, I was really lucky. My sister and I both were.
My parents work really hard and always make sure my sister and I have everything we need, but the hospital bills were huge. We got the help we needed because we had health insurance for us through the CHIP program. But there are millions of kids out there who don't have CHIP, and they wouldn't get the care that my sister and I did if they got hurt. Their parents might have to sell their cars or their houses, or they might not be able to pay for hospital bills at all.
Now I'm back to school. One of my vocal chords is paralyzed so I don't talk the same way I used to. And I can't walk or run as fast as I did. The doctors say I can't play football any more, but I might still be able to be a coach. I'm just happy to be back with my friends.
I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I'm glad I could see them because of the Childrens Health Program.
I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me. This Graeme Frost, and this has been the Weekly Democratic Radio address.
Thanks for listening.
Congressional Democrats and some Republicans voted this week to add 4 million children to the popular program at an additional cost of $35 billion.
President Bush has promised to veto the legislation. Bush, who has proposed a $5 billion increase, says the larger package would expand the program beyond its original intent.
Asked what he would tell Bush if given the chance, Graeme said today that he would urge him to sign the bill.
"I'm guessing he wants this money for Iraq," he said. "Our future isn't in Iraq. It's here."
Bush's veto of this legislation is absolutely senseless -- as many prominent Republicans agree. California Gov. Arnold Swarzenegger, who campaigned in behalf of President Bush in 2004, is puzzled by Bush's willingness to leave America's poor children without health insurance.
"We all sit there and say 'Where did that come from?' " Schwarzenegger said. "You can't go wipe out the deficit on the backs of children."
The Republican administration is threatening to do exactly that with this veto -- and we've all learned what when it comes to helping the rich or screwing the poor in this country, Republicans always live up to their threats.
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