Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Our neighbours to the south happen to be one of the world's richest countries. It's all milk and honey as long as you're not poor and/or dark-skinned and you don't get sick:
* Lack of insurance is much more common among people with low incomes. Some 24.4 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 were uninsured in 2005, almost triple the rate of 8.5 percent among people with incomes over $75,000.
* African-Americans (19.6 percent uninsured) and Hispanics (32.7 percent) were much more likely to be uninsured than white, non-Hispanic people (11.3 percent).
And remember that's just a snapshot. Over a period of two years, the fraction of Americans who go through a period with no health insurance is much higher. When uninsured, an American resident can get emergency room care but can't see a doctor without paying (a lot) out of pocket. And that's not even to mention the widespread crappiness of the insurance that comes with your typical American McJob.
All of which is just a little background for Bush's veto of a proposed expansion of S-CHIP funds. SCHIP is a joint state-federal health insurance program that covers lower-income kids and, in some cases, their parents too (and potentially also childless adults) that aren't poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. It's currently so under-funded that it can't cover everyone who is currently eligible. The GOP thinks this is just peachy. The idea behind the veto is that all this solid government-provided insurance could replace some fraction of the shitty, insecure, highly profitable private-sector insurance currently on offer. And no good Republican wants that.
Sadly, it turns out that, despite almost total party discipline on the bills, Democrats don't have enough votes to override Bush's veto in the House, which requires 2/3 of members to vote against Bush:
Eighteen Republicans in the Senate supported the measure when it passed, including four who face difficult challenges next year. In the House, 45 GOP lawmakers defected.
There were 265 votes in all for the measure when it passed last month. Supporters need to pick up 25 more votes to override the veto.
...But 151 Republicans opposed the bill when it passed, enough to sustain the veto, and absent numerous switches, Bush's veto seemed secure.
...The original Senate vote was 67-29, enough to override. But the House votes first, and if Bush's allies sustain his veto there, the bill dies.
The quotes in the AP piece from the Republican leadership are pretty special too. ("We got what we wanted.") What a bunch of evil shits. Meanwhile, the head R left the flight suit at home this time:
Bush vetoed the bill in private, absent the television cameras and other media coverage that normally attend even routine presidential actions.
Fuckers. What a disgrace that this is one of the two major options in the most powerful democracy on earth.