It’s disappointing SCHIP didn’t get a veto proof majority. It’s even more disappointing how little California was able to get there, compared to other similar states.
In the SCHIP battle, a few states have been targeted, namely New York, New Jersey, and California, as states that expanded their state child health insurance programs above the norm of twice the poverty level. All three started their programs under Republican Governors (Pataki, Whitman, and Wilson, respectively). And all three have lots of children on the program now, have a high cost-of-living and are thus justified in a higher eligibility level, and recognize that SCHIP reauthorization is a big deal for the state to draw down federal funds–not to mention the benefit of providing health coverage to the children of the state.
So how did we do compared to the other states that are particularly targeted? In comparison, California did poorly in getting our House Representatives to vote for the interests of their state.
Of our 19 California House Republicans, only one–Mary Bono–voted for the measure. (Another did not vote.)
In comparison, New Jersey had 3 out of 6 Republicans in a 13-member delegation vote for SCHIP. New York both had 4 out of 6 House Republicans in a 29-member delegation vote the interest of their state over their President. (To complete the tri-state area, Connecticut also meets the criteria above, and has only one Republican Congressman out of a 5-member delegation, and yes, he voted for SCHIP.)
For whatever reason, our counterparts in the Mid-Atlantic did a much better job in getting their Representatives to represent them, in bringing in federal funds and extending coverage to children. As a result of California’s inability to produce the votes, we may have to have hundreds of thousands of children disenrolled from California’s Healthy Families program shortly.
One would have hoped that the broad support of Republican Governors–including Governor Schwarzenegger–would have made more of an impact on the Republican Congressional Representatives. New York and New Jersey actually have Democratic Governors now, but they still were able to have some sway with their Representatives. So what’s wrong with our delegation?