Last week, President Bush vetoed passage of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This program would have benefited our country’s poorest children; it would have insured millions of children whose families cannot afford to do so.
The arguments he used to support this veto are that it would be too costly and he is, after all, a firm believer in the private health industry. The cost of this initiative (35 billion dollars over five years) is miniscule in comparison to the destructive enterprise currently going on in Iraq. This President is quite prepared to wreck this economy over a failed and patently immoral venture, but apparently squeamish about the cost of saving children’s lives. This is a very telling look into his psyche.
His apparent true belief in regards to private medicine is not impacted by the fact that there are nearly fifty million Americans who are currently uninsured. This faith in privatization is unimpeded by the obvious reality that the public health system in this country is terribly inadequate and horribly broken. This is not an exaggerated claim, for all one has to do is examine the standing of this country in regards to public health in relation to other countries in the global community of nations. All one has to do is examine the standing of this country in regards to infant mortality: the United States has the second worst infant mortality rate among developed nations for example. Furthermore, the infant mortality rate of African Americans is nearly double the national rate (9.3 deaths per 1000 population).
When this development is added to the entire litany of decisions emanating from his leadership, it can be readily concluded that this is a remarkably mean-spirited administration whose priorities have left in its wake a society that will require many years of recovery after his departure from public life.