Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cantor urges Dems on children's health

House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor have penned a letter to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, urging them to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHI), but only under clearly-delineated confines:

a) SCHI should cover low income children, first and foremost.

b) Illegal aliens and other non-citizens should not benefit from SCHI.

c) SCHI should not replace private health insurance.

d) SCHI should remain free from "budget gimmicks" such as extraneous provisions.

The Left is already attacking Cantor's letter.

The ban [on immigrant coverage] is more than just mean-spirited. It also ensures that kids will be sicker — and thus more expensive — when the finally are eligible to enter the system.

For a less reactionary broadside, Think Progress:

But the argument for including tax-paying non-citizens in the SCHIP program is as much economic as it is moral. Forcing immigrant children to go five years without seeing a medical professional only increases SCHIP’s costs once the now sicker children become eligible for insurance.

And finally, in a disappointing non-surprise, the reporting division of the New York Times covered the proposal by including token GOP opposition (in this case Eric Cantor's) and editing him into oblivion:

[Cantor] said Republicans had concerns about expanding the program, to immigrants or any other group, before the original purpose of the program was achieved.

“The program has not fulfilled its initial mission, to serve children of the working poor,” Mr. Cantor said in an interview.

The Times then fails to explain why Cantor argues the initial mission has failed. That might be relevant. Compare that with one of the two liberal reactions included:

“Children should not be forced to wait five years for health care,” said Jennifer M. Ng’andu, a health policy specialist at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic rights group. “Five years is a lifetime to a child.....

There were cheers in the room,” Ms. Ng’andu said. “It was a joyous moment when we learned that legal immigrant children would be covered.”

(Ea.) As thin on substance as Cantor's statement, but bursting with the emotion of Liberace PMS'ing on July 4th.