Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Immigrant Children Get the SCHIP Shaft

Do you hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth today as the news spreads of The Decider's latest exercise of Compassionate Conservativism?

Well, you'll hear none of that from this bloguero; because while SCHIP is a vitally important program that provides essential health care needs to people all across the land, the fact is - the Democrat-controlled Congress threw immigrant children off the bridge last month as they were crossing it to the city limits of Vetoville.

My Congressman, Raúl Grijalva, explained in an Op/Ed on September 19th

During debate, House Republicans sabotaged the spirit of bipartisanship by including an unconnected issue to public health. In their efforts to restate the bill's prohibition of services for undocumented immigrants in their motion to recommit, Republicans needlessly attacked legal, taxpaying, permanent residents.

More discouraging to the fate of children's health insurance is the looming threat of a veto from the president and the uphill battle that must be waged to gather the needed votes to override that veto.

In addition to his veto threat, the president has instituted administrative regulations that will severely limit the number of children covered by this program, thereby violating the original Children's Health Insurance law. These new regulations also violate the Administrative Procedures Act, the law that provides direction for federal rulemaking, as the regulations were announced without official notice or comment periods, which formal administrative rule-making regulations require.

While Grijalva voted for the reconciliation bill with the Senate, he and other Hispanic (esa palabra me da asco!) lawmakers raised their objections continuously through the process. Going a step further, Rep. Dennis Kucinich voted against it to make a deliberate point that we should not discriminate against any children when it comes to basic human needs such as healthcare.
“I cannot support legislation which extends health coverage to some children while openly denying it to other children,” Kucinich said. “This legislation is woefully inadequate: and I will not support it.

“Legal immigrant children deserve the same quality health care as other children receive. It is Congress’ responsibility to address the main difficulties that prevent legal immigrant children from gaining access to health care. Today, we did exactly the opposite.

There are many dynamics at play today. We have a situation where SCHIP no longer has any funding, period, which is unacceptable and despicable; but we also see that, once again, scapegoats are picked off the outer edges of the herd without so much as a flinch from the shepherds. In another Op/Ed via the editorial team of El Diario/La Prensa, my thoughts on this are further articulated.
We’ll take your money and run. That’s the message that Congress in effect delivered last week when it excluded immigrant families from its reauthorization of a health insurance program.

Immigrant families with legal status—and many undocumented ones as well—pay taxes that cover vital social services. But when health insurance is out of reach for their children, many are still rendered ineligible for healthcare coverage known as SCHIP.

SCHIP—State Children’s Health Insurance Program—was designed to bridge uninsured children to healthcare. National and local organizations have campaigned for an expanded SCHIP that would reach the 9 million uninsured children in the United States.


If the U.S.-born American people can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a war of choice to make sure that bullets and tanks are provided to military personnel, then why are we even having a debate on access to medical care?

It's shameful, and while I despise George Bush's actions today, the fact is many people were/are willing to sell out other children if they can get their own. Enough is Enough.

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