Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bull Tossing Mike Conaway

The Conaway Chronicle just arrived in my inbox with Rep. Mike's false rationale for voting against Children's Health Insurance. Does he not read the bills after they go through conference? Mr. Conaway stated income levels in his newsletter that don't exist in the bill. In West Texas, that's known as lying.

This morning Brian Lamm from CSPAN spoke at Angelo State University. He seemed quite concerned about the lack of transparency in government, especially around earmarks. At Mike's recent San Angelo Open House, he "could not recall" all his requested earmarks. That seemed odd at the time, but given his nose growing words on CHIP, I now have a context to put them in. Below are Mr. Conaway's words from his newsletter with the falsehood in bold.

S-CHIP Vetoed
Last week, President Bush vetoed the Democrats' proposed S-CHIP Reauthorization. I support the President's veto. Along with a bi-partisan majority in the House, I fully support reauthorizing an efficient and responsible State Children's Health Insurance Program. Unfortunately, the proposed reauthorization is riddled with superfluous spending and will increase the bias against private health insurance while paving the road to federalized healthcare. When S-CHIP was created in 1997, the intent was to ensure low-income children access to affordable healthcare. Originally, S-CHIP was to cover children from families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level. The current proposal not only abandons this principle and increases eligibility to 300 percent, but it also allows the states to establish their own eligibility standards. In some cases, this would allow S-CHIP to cover families with an annual income of $83,000.

In 1992 there were 8.4 million uninsured children according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

For 2006 the Census Bureau reported 8.7 million uninsured children.

Despite the implementation of S-CHIP, there are 300,000 more kids uninsured today than in 1992. The country knows there are seismic shifts in health insurance coverage. We're the ones paying higher deductibles and co-pays while George Bush decries "first dollar coverage" and "gold plated health plans". Sorry Mr. President, most of us haven't seen those plans for at least a decade. The ones that have such excellent coverage, generally fall into an income group W. doesn't like to tax.

The forces are in place to leave more people uncovered every year. Now Mike and George W. have turned their backs on children. The problem is growing for both adults and kids. If our elected leaders can't come together on behalf of 8.7 million children, what can they collaborate on? As for Mike, next time you see him, don't be surprised if his nose is longer...

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