The following is the complete, unedited text of the message that President Bush used to inform Congress of his decision to veto H.R. 976, a bill that would have extended authorization for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program.
CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2007–VETO MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
To the House of Representatives:
I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 976, the ”Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007,” because this legislation would move health care in this country in the wrong direction.
The original purpose of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was to help children whose families cannot afford private health insurance, but do not qualify for Medicaid, to get the coverage they need. My Administration strongly supports reauthorization of SCHIP. That is why I proposed last February a 20 percent increase in funding for the program over 5 years.
This bill would shift SCHIP away from its original purpose and turn it into a program that would cover children from some families of four earning almost $83,000 a year. In addition, under this bill, government coverage would displace private health insurance for many children. If this bill were enacted, one out of every three children moving onto government coverage would be moving from private coverage. The bill also does not fully fund all its new spending, obscuring the true cost of the bill’s expansion of SCHIP, and it raises taxes on working Americans.
Because the Congress has chosen to send me a bill that moves our health care system in the wrong direction, I must veto it. I hope we can now work together to produce a good bill that puts poorer children first, that moves adults out of a program meant for children, and that does not abandon the bipartisan tradition that marked the enactment of SCHIP. Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage, not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage.
GEORGE W. BUSH.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 3, 2007.