Broder Baffled Why Bush 'Against Providing Health Insurance for Kids'

Washington Post reporter and columnist David Broder, known as the “dean” of the Washington press corps, perfectly encapsulated, on Friday's Washington Week on PBS, the media establishment's more government spending is the answer to everything attitude when he acted bewildered as to how anyone could oppose a massive expansion of a federal health insurance program. When host Gwen Ifill raised how “Congress would like to double the number of children covered” by the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Broder marveled at how “the President has threatened the veto, and everybody I've talked to in the administration this past week says take that threat seriously.” Broder equated federal spending with resolving a problem as he wondered: “I mean, who can be against providing health insurance for kids?” Talking over him, Ifill, a veteran of the New York Times and NBC News, echoed, “yeah.” Neither Ifill nor Broder noted the amount of the proposed additional spending Bush would veto: $50 billion.

Broder did at least go on to explain how Bush “wants a much bigger change, a change that would involve rewriting the way in which we provide for deductions for health insurance, that would enable people to buy individual health insurance policies themselves. But he is opposed to anything that says federal government is going to underwrite more health insurance for more people. That, to him, is creeping socialism.” Maybe because it is.

The exchange on the July 27 Washington Week, provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:
GWEN IFILL: Well, every other dispute we've talked about tonight is basically rooted in partisanship. But another looming clash has Republicans and Democrats on one side and the White House on the other. The disagreement is over the federally funded state children's health insurance program. Congress would like to double the number of children covered. The administration says that would simply cost too much. So is this all going to come to a head in a presidential veto, David?

DAVID BRODER: Well, the President has threatened the veto, and everybody I've talked to in the administration this past week says take that threat seriously. He's on possibly the worst possible domestic issue to which to threaten the veto. I mean, who can be against providing health insurance-

IFILL: Yeah.

BRODER: -for kids?

IFILL: So what's the reason?

BRODER: But he has drawn the line. Why has he drawn the line? Because in the seventh year of his presidency, he decided that he has his own way of reforming health care, and he is very frustrated that the Congress won't pay attention to the proposal that he has put. He wants a much bigger change, a change that would involve rewriting the way in which we provide for deductions for health insurance, that would enable people to buy individual health insurance policies themselves. But he is opposed to anything that says federal government is going to underwrite more health insurance for more people. That, to him, is creeping socialism.

PETE WILLIAMS: Is it the coverage for children or is it their concern that it also covers parents and it's beginning to spread it around more than just children?

BRODER: Well, the program is primarily for children. But because states have been encouraged by the administration for the last six years to use this money in creative ways, the states, many of them, have said we'll not only take care of the kids, but if their parents aren't insured, we will extend the insurance to the uninsured parents. The idea being the more people you can provide coverage for, the better. The President now says we want to draw the line, it should be only for children and only for the poorest children.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center