Demonstrators protest veto of kids’ health-care coverage
The local protest was
replicated in cities across the country.
By ANGIE SCHMITT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN — A small group of protesters waved signs and held candles Tuesday in protest of President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
SCHIP now provides health-care coverage for 6 million U.S. children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health-care coverage.
Six adults and four children gathered in front of the Thomas D. Lambros Federal Courthouse as federal lawmakers prepare for a vote that could overturn the presidential veto.
Tuesday evening protests mirroring the Market Street demonstration were held in cities across the country, said organizer Kate Kane, 48, of Austintown.
“We’re trying to raise awareness, have people call their representatives in Washington,” she said. “We need congress to stop blocking health care from our children.”
Both the House and Senate approved a reauthorization of the bill in August, expanding funding by $35 billion and extending coverage to an additional 4 million children, despite the president’s promise to veto. Bush called the bill a dangerous step toward socialized medicine.
Julie Cho, 41, said she had never before participated in a protest. The Austintown resident brought her two children, Maggie, 8, and Alex, 11, to the demonstration.
“Since it’s about the children, I have to,” she said. “We’re supposed to be the strongest nation in the world and we can’t even protect our own kids.”
Youngstown State University student Becky Holan, 22, said the young people in her life have benefited from SCHIP.
“This is a big thing,” she said. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to take care of our own kids.”
A two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate is needed to override the veto.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th; Betty Sutton of Barberton, D-13th; and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-11th, and Dennis Kucinich, D-10th, both of Cleveland, pledged their support of the program during a Tuesday news conference.
“The SCHIP bill we passed would allow 122,000 uninsured Ohio children to have health coverage,” said Sutton. “It was worked out between members of both political parties and both chambers of Congress. ... Our children deserve better.”
A successful override could mean an additional $93 million for Ohio children in the program’s first year, said Brad Bauman, a spokesman for Ryan.