SCHIPS Veto Override

by Tracee Sioux

Let me tell you about two families I personally know who benefit from the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or SCHIPS, the continuation and expanse of which Pres. George W. Bush vetoed.

Family one has a stay-at-home mom and a restaurant manager dad. He works 6 days a week, Tuesdays are his day off. The restaurant is independent – not a chain – and they don’t offer employees an affordable health plan. He works around 65 hours per week. They have three children. Their oldest child is autistic and must have special therapies and a strict diet. There is no way possible for them to be able to insure this child. There is no way possible Dad’s salary could ever come close to paying for their autistic son’s therapies. Autism isn’t an irresponsible behavior or character flaw. It’s something the child was born with and no one knows how or why. It’s hard for them to cope, but impossible for them to help him without SCHIPS.

Family two has a stay-at-home mom and a dad that works about 20 hours a day. He has a fulltime job in a marketing company AND a fulltime freelance business. You might know her, from Jlogged. Because he works for a small company and is self employed they don’t have a health care plan through his employer. They have three sons. One of their twins was born with cerebral palsy and a seizure condition. To qualify for help he has to stop working at a certain point. He turns down work, turns down promotions, because if they no longer qualify for SCHIPS and disability they will not come anywhere near being able to pay for the lifelong health needs of their child. If they exceed the income limit their son will go without help, without medical help, without the therapies and medication he needs.

If she goes to work there will be no one to take him to all of the therapies and doctors’ appointments. If they move so he can work for a large corporation with health insurance there will be no family support to call for help. When their sick child is in the hospital the extended family steps in to take care of their healthy children. When mom needs a break they trust their parents to take care of their special needs child. If they move, they lose that. So too the family with the autistic child, if they move they lose their familial support.

Can you imagine being a parent who can’t take their special needs child to the doctor? I can imagine it. But for the Grace of God, there go I.

It wasn’t any one’s fault or character flaw – it just happened. It’s biology. No one was being lazy or doing the wrong thing.

We have to stop criminalizing these middle class families. These families work HARD. They work as hard as any other American family. It’s not their fault they have kids with special needs. It’s not their fault they don’t have access to health insurance.

It’s not a character flaw to work for a small company or to start your own business. I thought Republicans were supposed to be into encouraging entrepreneurs and small businesses?

These are not just hard working Americans, they’re very frugal Americans. They don’t carry credit card debt or buy things they can’t afford. Jen’s family as one who digs through other people’s trash – literally. She believes in reduce, reuse, recycle. She’s not above any kind of work nor above any kind of reuse. They go to Church and they give-back their time and money in volunteer work with mentoring and boy scout den mothering. This is how we treat the good guys.

Bush is making it impossible for them to make it. He’s basically saying, You’re on your own. Too bad for you. Americans shouldn’t have to pay for your bum luck.

That’s just not who we want to be.

We only need 20 more votes to override Bush’s selfish veto. Write your congress person Right Here Right Now and tell them this is an unacceptable way to treat hard working Americans and their families.

I’m taking names this year. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, not a big fan of your voting record.

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