Overriding the SCHIP Veto by the Numbers

The House will vote on whether to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program this Thursday. The bill in question would reauthorize this proven program and fund health coverage for almost 4 million additional uninsured children by 2012. What’s more, the fiscally responsible expansion of SCHIP is funded by an increase in the tobacco tax.

The Bush administration and their congressional allies continue to put up flimsy ideological arguments to shift focus away from the real issue: about 9 million American children do not have health coverage, which causes financial stress for their families and jeopardizes their ability to grow into healthy adults.

Now President Bush, backed by a small group of representatives, wants to block policy that helps children obtain coverage. But a large bipartisan majority of both senators and representatives already supports SCHIP. So does a majority of the American public, 43 state governors, and health industry leaders, including America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Medical Association.

Everyone but the Bush administration realizes that SCHIP is one of the most successful and efficient government programs in recent memory. Covering more children just makes sense. And the numbers below tell the story.

SCHIP reauthorization will provide millions of low-income children with health insurance:

5 to 6 million: CBO director’s estimate of how many children are uninsured and eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid.

3.8 million: Number of children who are currently uninsured who would be covered under the legislation by 2012.

4.5 million: The increase in children enrolled in SCHIP by 2012 compared to current law.

700,000: The number of children who would lose coverage under the President’s SCHIP proposal.

And everyone’s in favor of it, except the Bush administration and a few of their congressional allies:

63: Percent of voters who favor expanding SCHIP to cover 4 million more uninsured children at a cost of $35 billion.

64: Percent of voters who disagree with President Bush’s decision to veto the SCHIP legislation passed by Congress at the end of September.

43: Number of state governors who support renewing SCHIP.

68: Number of Senators who voted for reauthorization (that’s a veto-proof majority).

265: Number of representatives who voted for reauthorization and expansion (that’s 15 to 20 votes short of a veto-proof majority).

And finally, two memorable moments in the fight for expanded children’s health insurance:

October 1, 2007: Day President Bush declared it to be “Child Health Day” in the United States.

October 3, 2007: Day President Bush vetoed SCHIP reauthorization and expansion, signaling his disregard for the health of America’s children.

Read more on SCHIP from CAP: