Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good Citizens

I don’t think that anyone who is a mother, republican or democrat can understand in any way, shape or form, the reasoning behind the President’s veto of the SCHIP legislation increase and renewal. There is no excuse, and this unacceptable decision is compounded by the fact that yesterday he requested another $46 Billion to fund the Iraq war. A war that has yet to make any difference in our struggle against an ideology that has no home base that claims no country of origin, no allegiance to a state. Muslim Fundamentalism is not an ideology of Iraq; it is an ideology that lives deep in the hearts of a people who inhabit a multitude of countries and a vast representation of humanity. They do not wear a uniform and carry a passport and hence we can not fight them in a traditional war. I won’t go too deeply into the fact that not one of the hijackers was from Iraq. They were, 17 of them, from Saudi Arabia, our good friends.

I highlight these truths only because I think that we are so quick to loose sight of the important nuances that make our current situations what they are, and we are too quick to believe everything that makes these situations any more palatable for ourselves. We will face choices as mothers in upcoming elections that will call on us all to take the time to really understand the policies we support through the candidates we elect. We must take the time to read, research, ask questions, and demand truth from ourselves and our leaders. We must, in short, be good citizens.

The SCHIP program is one such topic that should require more inquiry and more understanding. We, the collective maternal population must take the time to truly understand what SCHIP does, for whom, and why. If we do not defend the needs of the children who so greatly need our help, who will?

A Brief explanation of SCHIP:

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, makes funds available to states that have in place federally approved programs providing health insurance coverage to uninsured children. This program gives each state permission to offer health insurance for children, up to age 19, who are not already insured. SCHIP is a state administered program and each state sets its own guidelines regarding eligibility and services.
Amounts of SCHIP funds receive annually is determined according to a formula based on the number of uninsured, low-income children in the state and a geographic health care cost factor. Participating states use most of their SCHIP funding to provide health insurance to uninsured children who could not otherwise be covered under the state's plan alone.
In most states the maximum household income allowed is $36,000. If you read carefully, the second paragraph above highlights the fact that states in which there is a greater population of poor children, say Mississippi, may have more children in the program and their threshold for eligibility may be lower than a state like New York or Maryland that has fewer children living below the poverty line, but the cost of living is dramatically higher, hence the threshold for eligibility may be higher. The argument that the program allows families who make $84,000 a year are eligible and therefore the program is flawed is faulty logic and a good game of slight of hand being played by the President. He knows it too.
The reality is that the fear of the administration is that the migration of families who currently choose health care over proper nutrition, safe cars, or other needs would impact the private health insurance industry negatively. Read that slowly, understand it fully.
*President Bush does not want Private Insurance Companies to suffer premium losses as a result of state funded programs that will provide medical care to children. *
Now, think about that. Further, the excuse that this program is somehow the lead in to the slippery slope of socialized medicine is bullshit; Medicare and Medicaid have been around for decades. Ask our seniors where they would be without it and if their fixed income would allow them to move back onto private medical insurance. They could not do it and survive.
Not everyone will agree with my assessment of the President and his policies in the middle east and I make no attempt to hide my opinion, but regardless of opinion on other issues, I believe that this one calls on all mothers to stand up for the voiceless and helpless among us. Understand the issues, write to your representatives and senators and demand that they fight the President on the SCHIP veto.
I live in North Carolina, a big tobacco state. Senator Elizabeth Dole supported the president because she did not want a tobacco tax used to support funding for SCHIP here in our state. WHAT? We don’t want to tax a product that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, contributes to childhood asthma and other pulmonary diseases in an effort to bring health care to poor children. Help me understand that logic. I can not. I simply can not.
SCHIP is one issue among many, many issues that will require your thought, research, understanding and time. Make the time and make it a priority whether you are a Donkey or an Elephant, do it for yourself, and do it for your kids.

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