Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let them eat insurance policies

By Libby

When Bush announced he is the Great Decider, he apparently wasn't just talking about policies that legally and traditionally fall under the purview of the executive branch, he means he's going to make decisions about everything, including mandating policy that should be left to individual state's discretion. And so, in his typical fashion of delivering unpalatable edicts during the August recess, he has decided that the welfare of the private insurance industry is more important than the health of our nation's children.

In a letter sent to the states this week he mandated impossible criteria for states who wish to expand insurance assistance to uninsured children, going as far as to rescind previously authorized standards that have been in existence for years. This new edict not only prevents new enrollees, it will eliminate coverage for children who already depend on the program.

The language of the White House proclamation is telling in that none of the requirements mandated by our "compassionate president" require benchmarks that relate to the health of children. The thresholds instead are predicated on how it affects the insurance industry's bottom line.

Joe Gandelman has his usual link rich post, collecting the various reactions, and expresses his own outrage admirably. Predictably, his comment section has already garnered responses along the lines of, why should we be subsidizing upper middle class kids anyway? And indeed, one can understand how someone living in a place where the median income is in the 40s could be skeptical of NY state's desire to expand coverage up to families making in the 80s. It's difficult for some people to understand the relative nature of the cost of living in different areas of the country.

But the bottom line is, Bush has no right to dictate impossible mandates, against the wishes of the Congress, simply to protect his corporate cronies and however one feels about the program itself, the only certainty is that millions of more children are going to be denied proper medical care by the richest country in the world. That's just a disgrace.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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