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S-CHIP money running out, Dems rejoice

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 26, 2007 12:02 PM

Let’s recap the S-CHIP debate briefly. The Democrat leadership wants a massive entitlement expansion of the federal children’s health insurance program dependent on taxing smokers. President Bush supports renewing the current funding levels and embracing a less ambitious expansion. The Dems are holding the current funding dollars hostage until and unless Bush and the GOP cave in to their demands. The GOP stands accused of abandoning The Children, despite a Republican compromise S-CHIP funding measure that’s sitting on the table. Instead of agreeing to a reliable funding plan, the Dems want to exploit the issue in the heat of next year’s election season and force a vote on the program one month before voters go to the polls.

Now, there’s this:

President Bush and Congress have spent much of autumn locked in a bitter fight over expanding a popular children’s health insurance program, and neither side has been willing to blink.

But for states such as California, the effects of the stalemate are hitting home.

Unless there’s an infusion of cash – and quickly – California will run out of federal money to pay for its program in June. To prepare for the shortfall, state officials will decide in the next two weeks whether to stop enrolling new children and send letters to 56,600 families telling them their children will lose health coverage on Dec. 31.

“These are horrible options,” said Lesley Cummings, who manages the state’s Healthy Families insurance program for low-income kids. “We never thought we were going to be in this place.”

Au contraire. That’s exactly where the Dems want them.

California isn’t alone. The Congressional Research Service estimates that 21 states will exhaust their federal money next year – nine will run out of money in March – if Congress simply keeps the program funded at the current levels.

Congress approved a short-term extension until Dec. 14 for the program, which is run by the states and paid for with state and federal money. But while lawmakers and the White House have been negotiating for weeks over a compromise to boost funding, no deal has been reached.

The Dems and their media water-carriers will blame Bush. But the Dems’ political ploy is transparent: They’d rather S-CHIP run out of money than pass a streamlined version of the bill that provides a steady stream of funds at current levels.

Who cares about the children?

(Hat tip: Erika)

Posted in: Graeme Frost