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Monday, September 24, 2007

Bush veto threatens children's health care

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

WASHINGTON – For years it has been one of the few issues that liberals and conservatives in Congress could agree on: continuing and expanding a state-federal partnership to provide health insurance for kids, mainly the children of the working poor.

So when senators of both parties reached a compromise this summer and then beat back efforts by House Democrats to triple the program’s budget, its many Republican backers thought they had a political victory that President Bush could embrace.

Instead, in a last-minute twist, the issue has become an ideological flash point, and Bush is threatening to cast what may become his most controversial veto of the year.

The much bigger stumbling block has turned out to be ideological. After 10 years of sailing along as a feel-good idea that just about everyone supported, the children’s medical insurance program has suddenly been drawn into the contentious debate over health care reform in general.

Bush has attacked the compromise bill because it would expand coverage to some middle-class families instead of retaining the plan’s original focus on those with low incomes. The bill could lay the groundwork for government-run national health care, he has said.


(Full story available at the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette website)

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