George W. Bush has vetoed only four bills during his terms in office, which is unheard of for any President of the United States. The first three involved two bills that would have expanded stem cell research and withdrawing troops from Iraq. Unfortunately, the latest bill that he's shot down was SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which would have renewed and expanded mandates that would made it possible for families that aren't poor enough to get Medicaid but can't afford health insurance to get coverage for their children. The bill would have added an additional $35bus of funding to the program over a period of four years, which would have raised the federal cigarette tax to $1us per packet. This bill made it possible for states that couldn't cover such programs on their own to cover constituents' children with less trouble.
As if that weren't enough, the House of Representatives will probably not override the veto if push comes to shove. In a head count of supporters, they're short about two dozen reps.
Health insurance is damnably expensive, even if you earn a decent amount of money for your area. If you're lucky, your employers will split the cost with you by getting a group plan for their employees and their families - let's say that a particular health plan costs $800us per month (which is on the cheap side for good health insurance) for a family of three. The company pays $600us of the monthly tab, and your paycheques are docked $200us for the rest.
Sometimes, though, even $200us is too much. Let's say that you only make $2kus every month. In some areas (like Pittsburgh), you can live comfortably on that much money if you live alone. In northern Virginia, on the other hand, two thousand dollars American every month will get you a single bedroom in a crack house if you're frugal and living alone. If you have a family, however, you're SOL. SCHIP would have lessened the impact by picking up more of the monthly tab for health insurance if children were involved.
You've probably read about my insurance woes. For a package that covered basic health, basic dental, and no vision, I was paying $400us out of pocket every month through COBRA after I left Sunrocket. When Sunrocket tanked (you've all seen the news), my COBRA coverage was over. That meant $800us/month out of pocket. The company I was contracting for at the time reimbursed for insurance after the fact, which meant spending three weeks out of every month down $800us.
Think that's bad? Now imagine making $35kus per year and having that hanging over your head. Without the possibility of reimbursement.
So much for no children being left behind.