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On the September 20 edition of MSNBC Live, correspondent Jeannie Ohm reported that President Bush, who was about to hold a news conference discussing health coverage, "will make comments about where he stands on the issue" of expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), adding that "[h]e wants to see more coverage for poor children." In a later segment on MSNBC Live, Ohm reported that "the president wants to make it very clear that he does not support what Congress is currently proposing, about $35 billion over five years; instead, he wants to see a much smaller amount, about $5 billion." But she did not report that the Congressional Budget Office estimated in May that "maintaining the states' current programs under SCHIP would require funding of $39 billion for the 2007-2012 period and $98 billion over the 2007-2017 period -- increases of $14 billion and $48 billion, respectively, over the baseline spending levels." Ohm also did not report that Bush has threatened to veto a Democratic bill that would substantially increase SCHIP funding. During the subsequent broadcast of Bush's press conference, MSNBC on-screen text read: "Pres. Bush talks about health care for poor children."
In a September 17 article, The New York Times reported: "Senate and House negotiators said Sunday that they had agreed on a framework for a compromise bill that would provide health insurance to four million uninsured children while relaxing some of the limits on eligibility imposed by the Bush administration." The article continued: "The compromise, which resembles a bill passed by the Senate with bipartisan support, sets the stage for a battle with President Bush, who has denounced similar legislation as a step 'down the path to government-run health care for every American.' "
Bush has proposed increasing funding for the program by $5 billion over five years, compared with the $35 billion Congress is pushing for, as the Associated Press reported.
In addition to threatening to veto a bill that would substantially increase federal funding for SCHIP, according to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), the administration has proposed changes to the program that would impose "thresholds that are impossible to meet for nearly every state and impose a one-size-fits-all solution to a dynamic and complex problem." Spitzer and Schwarzenegger further wrote, in an August 29 letter to Bush, "The recently proposed SCHIP rules will reverse longstanding agreements with the states and reduce the number of children who receive health care. We strongly urge you to reconsider these recent policy changes, which simply diminish state flexibility."
From the 9 a.m. ET hour of the September 20 edition of MSNBC Live:
OHM: But also the president really, for his part, he's trying to direct the focus on children's health care. Now, there's been a lot of talk among the presidential hopefuls about what they want to see happen with health care. This is the opportunity for the president to weigh in. There is a debate on Capitol Hill over what's known as the SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Well, the president will make comments about where he stands on the issue. He wants to see more coverage for poor children -- [anchor] Contessa [Brewer].
From the 10 a.m. ET hour of the September 20 edition of MSNBC Live:
OHM: But the president will try to steer the conversation, if you will, on health insurance. You know, a lot of the presidential hopefuls have been talking about health insurance -- Hillary Clinton unveiled her plan. Well, the president will be weighing in on a debate that's happening in Congress -- it's known as the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP -- and the president wants to make it very clear that he does not support what Congress is currently proposing, about $35 billion over five years; instead, he wants to see a much smaller amount, about $5 billion. So, again, this news conference, a lot of topics will be covered here this morning -- [anchor] Mika [Brzezinski].