Compassionate Conservatism – gutting children’s health care

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Back in January, I linked to a story about the Bush administration making moves to eliminate experts from the policy-making process. It was a move designed to give partisans Bush more control over the regulatory agencies that are tasked with protecting Americans.

Today, we’re seeing the president using federal controls to interfere with states’ efforts to improve access to health care for uninsured children.

Administration officials outlined the new standards in a letter sent to state health officials on Friday evening, in the middle of a month-long Congressional recess. In interviews, they said the changes were aimed at returning the Children’s Health Insurance Program to its original focus on low-income children and to make sure the program did not become a substitute for private health coverage.

After learning of the new policy, some state officials said today that it could cripple their efforts to cover more children by imposing standards that could not be met.

Ann Clemency Kohler, deputy commissioner of human services in New Jersey, said: “We are horrified at the new federal policy. It will cause havoc with our program and could jeopardize coverage for thousands of children.”

The Republican way: identify programs (like SCHIP and Social Security) that are popular and effective, but don’t fit the mold for conservative principals, and then try to trim or slash them.

I’m open to debate when people don’t think we shouldn’t have a national, single-payer health plan. But trying to prevent uninsured children from getting insurance, just because they’re not “low-income,” is ludicrous. This is the ‘principled’ Republican position!

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