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Thursday, 04 October 2007 08:50

Mary Shaw: Bush chooses war and tobacco company profits over children's health care

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A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Mary Shaw

As promised, George W. Bush has vetoed a highly popular bipartisan bill that would provide health care for uninsured low-income American children.

These children happen to have parents who aren't lucky enough to have jobs that provide health care benefits for their families. That is not an unusual situation to be in these days. But Bush has no empathy for these children. He has always enjoyed the best medical care when he's needed it. As he once told one of his professors at Harvard Business School, Bush believes that "poor people are poor because they're lazy." Absurd and pathetic as that attitude may be, it is even more absurd and pathetic to make the children pay the price.

By the way, this is the same George W. Bush who has called himself a "compassionate conservative." So where is the compassion in depriving America's innocent children of health care that could save their lives?

For the record, Bush is now officially a lame duck. And lame duck Bush says the children's health insurance bill would amount to too much spending, and that it borders on socialized medicine. Yet, this system has been working well for a while on the state level, and a proposed tobacco tax hike would pay for it. Sounds ideal. Better health all around.

But Bush would rather side with the tobacco corporations. No more taxes on cigarettes. According to Bush, everyone should have access to reasonably priced cigarettes. That's more important than access to health care.

The vetoed bill would cost $35 billion over five years, and Bush tries to use that as an excuse for his veto. It's just too much spending, he tells us, as if he is fiscally responsible.

But consider this: The Iraq war is costing us about $8.4 billion per month. So, for just four months of Iraq war costs, we could insure all those sick children for 5 years. Think about that.

Nope. Veto. It's too much spending.

Instead, America's uninsured children can just suffer and die, and we'll use that money instead to bomb more innocent Iraqi children.

God bless America.

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views on politics, human rights, and social justice issues have appeared in numerous online forums and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..