Great news, everyone! Today the House of Representatives approved an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In Iowa, this program is known as HAWK-I, and it provides coverage for thousands of children whose families are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, but not wealthy enough to purchase health insurance:
The child health bill would provide $32.3 billion over four and a half years to continue coverage for seven million children who now rely on the program and to extend coverage to more than four million who are uninsured.
“This is a day of triumph for America’s children,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said. “We put women and children first.”
After years of frustration, Democrats were exultant.
“Today is a new day,” Representative Dave Loebsack of Iowa. Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said, “Passing this bill sends a very important signal that change has come to Washington as a result of the last election.”
Representatives Bruce Braley and Leonard Boswell joined Loebsack in voting for the bill, which passed by a comfortable margin of 289-139. But as you can see from the roll call, Representatives Steve King and Tom Latham voted no.
King has been a proud opponent of the SCHIP program for years. In the bizarro world he inhabits, this program is Socialized Clinton-style Hillarycare for Illegals and their Parents.
Gee, I thought it was for people like my friend, who owns her own business but couldn’t afford health insurance for her kids after her husband got laid off. With the enormous job losses of the last few months, more and more families will need this program.
Anyway, we’ve all come to expect this kind of vote from King.
I hope some Democrats who crossed over in the fourth district to support Latham will open their eyes now. Today’s vote should not surprise anyone, because Latham has voted against expanding the SCHIP program on several occasions.
Still, I doubt this is what most voters had in mind when they saw television ads touting Latham’s “trusted leadership” on health care.
The Senate will take up this bill within the next two weeks, and I doubt Republicans will be able to filibuster it. So, Barack Obama will have a major achievement on health care very early in his presidency. Let’s hope it will be the first of many.
UPDATE: In typically dishonest fashion, Steve King (who never met a tax cut for the rich he didn’t like) claims the SCHIP bill “provides new benefits to illegal immigrants and wealthy families at the expense of low-income children.”