Obama, McCain Differ on Children's Health Insurance - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

During round two of the presidential debates on Tuesday at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, moderator Tom Brokaw of NBC News asked the candidates about health insurance? The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has played an important role in reducing the number of uninsured children in America, was one of the many topics where the two candidates differed.

Created in 1997, SCHIP was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. In 2007, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have increased funding for SCHIP by $35 billion over five years and expanded SCHIP to more low-income families. According to a Kaiser Network report from October 2007, the additional funding would have been paid for by a 61 cents per pack increase in the tobacco tax.

Throughout the debate Sen. John McCain unsuccessfully sought to have Sen. Barack Obama quantify the fine that he would charge parents if they neglected to insure their children. The Illinois senator never supplied a dollar amount for the fines that would be applied to families, but he rebutted explaining that insuring children is relatively inexpensive.

“These programs have been enormously important and it is a shame that last year we didn’t expand these programs,” said David Cutler, professor of applied economics at Harvard University and adviser to Obama, Wednesday during a Webcast about Obama’s healthcare plan. “These programs are very important to Obama.”

In 2007, the Children’s Defense Fund Action Council released its Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard, which ranked members on 10 votes Congress made on issues affecting children. The highest score possible was 100%. McCain’s record was rated the worst with a score of 10%. Obama, a new senator at the time of publication, was not rated but he supports expanding eligibility for SCHIP. According to the report, McCain was absent or voting “present” for eight out of 10 children-related votes.

McCain says that he wants children to have health insurance, but he voted against the expansion of SCHIP. He wants to focus on currently eligible children who are not enrolled and expand the program only to low-income uninsured children who are not eligible for SCHIP under the current policy.

Marcia A. Wade is a reporter for BlackEnterprise.com.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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