Regarding Eugene Robinson's Oct. 5 column, "Bush's Veto Lies," on the State Children's Health Insurance Program:
Mr. Robinson wrote that the authorization to cover children in families in New York earning up to $83,000 "is not in the bill [President] Bush vetoed." In fact, Section 114(a) of the legislation would allow New York to go to $83,000, with federal approval, and New Jersey to stay at $72,000. And any other state could go to $61,000 and get the generous SCHIP federal payment. Section 116(g) of the legislation takes a second step to reassure New York that it could put children in families up to $83,000 on taxpayer-supported health insurance.
This would give states incentives to bring more affluent, already-insured children into the program rather than focusing on lower-income children who are uninsured and whose parents earn $41,000 or less — the original intent of the program.
Mr. Robinson said the president was wrong to veto a bill that would provide health insurance to children. But the president has said repeatedly that he wants to sign an SCHIP bill that focuses on lower-income children whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid but can't afford private coverage. But adding millions of middle-income children, many of whom already are insured, to the program would hurt rather than help the children who need help most.