CBS News Poll: Republicans Just Plain Wrong on SCHIP

Earlier this week Gallup released some data that quite questionably suggested that President Bush was on firm ground in vetoing the expansion of the SCHIP program and that, similarly, Republicans were on firm ground for upholding that veto. The survey yielded some criticism (for instance here on -- and for good reason. Their numbers just don't jibe with the vast majority of the other available data on SCHIP. Take a look, for example, at the latest CBS News poll (.pdf).

Currently, a government program provides health insurance for some children in low-income families. Would you favor or oppose expanding this program to include some middle-class uninsured children?


Would you be willing to pay more in taxes in order to fund the expansion of this program?



Looking at these results, not only does a 70 percent majority of Republicans favor an expansion of the SCHIP program to cover some middle-class children, which is in effect what the Democrats have proposed (and which some congressional Republicans have supported as well), but a a 47.6 percent plurality of Republicans also favor such a move even if it means that their own taxes were increased. Overall, roughly 60 percent (well, 59.94 percent) of respondents indicated that they themselves would be willing to pay more in taxes in order to extend the SCHIP program to cover some middle class children. These numbers are quite unambiguous.

Even despite these numbers, it's not terribly surprising that the Republicans in the House were able to band together to find enough support to sustain President Bush's veto. In recent history it's been extremely difficult for Congress to override a President. For instance, the Republicans overrode just two of President Clinton's 36 vetoes; the Democrats overrode just one of George H.W. Bush's 29 vetoes; and from August 1974 through 1976, during most of which time the Democrats had a two-thirds majority in the House and a 60-seat majority in the Senate, the Democratic Congress overrode just 12 of Gerald Ford's 48 vetoes.

And with the risk of coming off crass and overly political, on a policy level I don't know that it's the worst thing in the world that the Congress was not able to override this veto. Certainly, I strongly believe in the expansion of healthcare to children. What's more, given that actual people's lives are at stake time is certainly of the essence. That said, the prospect of a Democratic Congress working together with a Democratic President for an even better bill in 2009 -- according to an earlier CBS News/New York Timespoll, 49 percent of Americans would accept seeing their own taxes be raised in return for universal healthcare, and 67 percent of Americans would accept paying higher taxes in return for every American child being covered with healthcare -- isn't a terrible alternative.

Tags: 110th congress, George W. Bush, Healthcare, Republicans, SCHIP, Senate 2008 (all tags)


1 Comment

Re: CBS News Poll:

The question to your last paragraph becomes:

Where do they go from here?   SCHIP is basically "running out."  Without a passed bill for renewal the program will simply not exist.  I seriously doubt that that will be allowed to happen.  The Republicans are already taking a major beating on this, they can't afford to see the program vanish before the 2008 election.  They would be absolute toast, regardless of what happens with Iraq.   So, what should Democrats do?   I think Reid is right when he states that the bill that was sent to Bush was already a compromise, watered down from its more ambitious $50 Billion increase over 5 years (as per Clinton-Dingle) to $35 Billion over 5 years and a lowered maximum income threshold.   There are going to be several "compromise" bills offered by rather desperate Republicans, which aim to split the difference down the middle.  I hope the Democrats don't take the bait of a, say, $10 Billion plan, and let the GOP suffer the consequences.  The program itself will no doubt allowed to continue via some emergency funding extension that keeps it at current levels, and once we take over the ship completely (and hang SCHIP around as many GOPers necks as an anchor to sink themselves with as possible) a true SCHIP expansion can be undertaken, which would then become a major pillar of a UHC health care system.    

by georgep 2007-10-18 09:46PM | 0 recs


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