Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 27, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Email this item Print this item

Children’s Healthcare Is a No-Brainer

Posted on Jul 24, 2007

By Amy Goodman

Deamonte Driver had a toothache. He was 12 years old. He had no insurance, and his mother couldn’t afford the $80 to have the decayed tooth removed. He might have gotten it taken care of through Medicaid, but his mother couldn’t find a dentist who accepted the low reimbursements. Instead, Deamonte got some minimal attention from an emergency room, his condition worsened and he died. Deamonte was one of 9 million children in the U.S. without health insurance.

Square, Story page, 2nd paragraph, mobile
    Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that will cover poor children in the U.S.

    The major obstacle? President Bush is vowing to veto the bill, even though Republican and Democratic senators reached bipartisan agreement on it. The bill adds $35 billion to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program over the next five years by increasing federal taxes on cigarettes.

    The conservative Heritage Foundation is against the tobacco tax to fund SCHIP, saying that it “disproportionately burdens low-income smokers” as well as “young adults.” No mention is made of any adverse impact on Heritage-funder Altria Group, the cigarette giant formerly known as Philip Morris.

    According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, with every 10 percent rise in the cigarette tax, youth smoking drops by 7 percent and overall smoking declines by 4 percent. Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, says: “It is a public health good in and of itself and will save lives to increase the tobacco tax. Cigarettes kill and cigarettes provoke lung cancer, and every child and every [other] human being we can, by increasing the cigarette tax, stop from smoking or slow down from smoking is going to have a public health benefit, save taxpayers money from the cost of the effects of smoking and tobacco.”


Square, Site wide, Desktop


Square, Site wide, Mobile
    Two programs serve as the health safety net for poor and working-class children: Medicaid and SCHIP (pronounced “s-chip”). SCHIP is a federal grant program that allows states to provide health coverage to children who belong to working families earning too much to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance when their employers do not provide it. It’s the SCHIP funding that is now being debated in Congress.

    The Children’s Defense Fund has published scores of stories similar to Deamonte’s. Children like Devante Johnson of Houston. At 13, Devante was fighting advanced kidney cancer. His mother tried to renew his Medicaid coverage, but bureaucratic red tape tied up the process. By the time Devante got access to the care he needed, his fate was sealed. He died at the age of 14, in Bush’s home state, only miles from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world’s leading cancer treatment and research facilities.

    With children’s lives at stake, Edelman has no patience for political gamesmanship: “Why is this country, at this time, the richest in the world, arguing about how few or how many children they can serve? We ought to—this is a no-brainer. The American people want all of its children served. All children deserve health coverage, and I don’t know why we’re having such a hard time getting our president and our political leaders to get it, that children should have health insurance.”

    Republican Sen. Gordon Smith originally introduced the SCHIP budget resolution in the Senate. Unlike Bush, who is not up for re-election, Smith is defending his vulnerable Senate seat in 2008, in the blue state of Oregon. He, like other Republicans who are breaking with Bush on the war in Iraq, is sensitive to Bush’s domestic policies. Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families just released a poll that says 91 percent of Americans support the expansion of SCHIP to cover more kids.

    And the American people are willing to go much further. As demonstrated by the popularity of Michael Moore’s latest blockbuster, “SiCKO,” the public, across the political spectrum, is ready to fix the U.S. healthcare system. How many more children like Deamonte and Devante have to die before the politicians, all with great health insurance themselves, take action?

  © 2007 Amy Goodman; distributed by King Features Syndicate

Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile

Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:

Get a book from one of our contributors in the Truthdig Bazaar.

Related Entries

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By letha, June 10, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if we adults quit smoking our little ones will die. medicade already dont want to pay for anything. and even if you have medicade you can’t find a doctor in arkansas who will take medicade children it is like finding a needle in a america if you love your children and want them to have long healthy happy lives keep on smoking.because that is what is paying our children’s doctor bills when we are lucky enough to find a doctor for them.

Report this

By Rangerider, August 17, 2007 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amy didn’t ask this question…no one on this board asked the question…so i will ask. Raising the taxes will cause people to stop smoking…if people stop smoking, where will the funding come from? Find another RELIABLE source of revenue for this and then i will be all for it.

Report this

By alfazedz, August 13, 2007 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I shall continue to smoke to save your children. In fact, I shall double the amount I smoke to save your children. I was about to quit smoking, but shall not to save your children. How selfish it would be of me to quit smoking. It would cause your children to die of toothaches. Sorry for even thinking about stopping smoking.

Report this

By V, July 27, 2007 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Seems like the posting is over. Nevertheless, I just want to point out that smokes are already taxed out the ace. I need my income, but its bineg taxed. I need to drive, but I need to have my car checked every year. etc. Again, decriminalize cannabis and tax it.

Report this

By Say What ?, July 25, 2007 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You people will believe just about any crap you are fed. Not apologizing for our worthless president but come on people wake the hell up will you…Listen, I had a bad tooth problem at age 34. Absessed tooth. You ever had one ? I had no health insurance. I still found a dentist to fix my tooth and I didn’t die. Wake up and look at the parent(s) of this child that is if this is even a true story. All children can get healthcare in the US already. Even illegals which is the main reason our hospitals are going out of business. But, that is a whole aspect to the problems we have with healthcare. But, you want to see how government run healthcare works - just google all the nightmare stories from countries that have government healthcare. These people of have to come to the US to get care. Come on people wake up !

Report this
farmertx's avatar

By farmertx, July 25, 2007 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

My point was that smoking tobacco products isn’t a smart health choice.
I’ve known that for some time now. But it was the tax hike that really started me on the road to stopping.
If this type of tax was placed on a commodity or service that was essential to daily life, folks would have a darn good reason to protest.
But when it’s placed on a commodity that does cause harm and is used only by choice, not need, I say why not?

As to the underlying problems with our health care system, yes there are plenty of abuses.
Where Kevin got his inside information, he neglected to share; but it isn’t unheard of for such things to occur.
If it is true, then the mom bears some blame. A little blame is due a system that folks have to constantly reapply for.
If the fraud and waste was removed from Medicaid, plus all other programs, we’d be a long way towards solving the problem.

Just as the politician’s can’t understand that if they removed the illegals’ children from public schools and all illegal’s from Welfare rolls, that alone would go a long way towards solving the immigration problem.

Report this

By kevin, July 25, 2007 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amy Goodman chose to leave some facts out of this article. Deamontes mother did not fill out the 1 page form and return it to keep her Medicaid. She also did not try to bring here son to the dentist until the tooth was already infected. By that time she had only days to reapply to Medicaid before her sons infection spread to his brain. Then her son received over $600,000 in emergency room care. She was eligible for Medicaid but did not bother to keep it and she also did not try to help her son until it was to late. So as taxpayers do we have to pay for her insurance, go fill out the paper work and then make her take her son to the doctors. How far do we have to go!! When a mother does not take care of her kids they die.

Report this

By V, July 25, 2007 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see my first post made it, hopefully my apology will get posted too.

farmertx, would you object to 5 dollars a pack? 10 dollars a pack? Smokers are already getting taxed out the ace. To put it in perspective, I would have to drink 16 gallons of beer to pay the same tax as 1 pack of smokes.

And for sure, let’s decriminalize cannabis. I would be more than happy to pay a dollar a pack tax and we wouldn’t have to pay for incarceration of non-criminals. Double the benefit.

Report this

By Elton, July 25, 2007 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to the article the boy was covered under Medicade, but could not find anyone to accept Medicade…  I thought Medicade was a type of Govt Insuance.
What makes you think that any other program developed would be more widely accepted than Medicade is?
I realize you all have a true hatred of Bush, but what have you done to help people in this situation.  The Federal Government does not have this power under the US Constitution…  People, (neighbors, churches/charities and family) should handle this.  Do any of ya’ll tithe to the church or charities…  Most of the Democrats in Congress do not give freely, they think someone else should do it…
Also, what doctors turned the boy away?  Most doctors I know would have helped free of charge or at a reduced rate, and someone like me would have picked up the tab for the rest… 
Would you do the same?  If so, the insurance scam proposed in this article is not needed.
Or is it not your job?

Report this

By jamsey, July 25, 2007 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As usual the pontificating bleeding heart can come up with 2 examples to change the entire course of our nation.  Every illegal alein in this country manages to get the health care they need on our dime, so do the disabled alcoholics, drug addicts, depressed people (you know bi-polar), viagara users, homosexual (aids-hiv, and even operations for women who want to be men and vise versa.  Maybe you should go after the welfare brood mares that multiply like roaches as their meal tickets.  Lots of fraud and waste already.  Get a life or get real, and stop blaming every damn thing on Bush, for God’s sake that is why no-one takes you seriously. No more money from my pocket or anyone elses.  how about you dear won’t you dedicate your entire paycheck?  Put up or shut up!

Report this
farmertx's avatar

By farmertx, July 25, 2007 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

I am a smoker and have been for nigh onto 50 years. I accept that smoking causes health problems and on that basis, can’t really object to the taxes. Especially seeing as how those taxes are forcing me to quit. Apt to be too late to do me any real good, but the high cost might deter some ypung ones from starting.


I honestly thought that by now marijuana would be legal, rather than somewhat decriminalized.
To paraphrase the hippies, Shrub don’t help you get through times of no weed; but weed helps you get through times of Shrub.
Not that I personally know anything at all about that but…

Report this

By V, July 25, 2007 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If my previous gets posted, I apologize for the smug butt nugget line. That was uncalled for.

Report this

By V, July 25, 2007 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a smoker, I am sick and tired of being singled out for paying taxes for others benefits. I am all for health care for children and everyone else. But I am right now paying more in cigarette tax every month than I am paying for health insurance. And you smug butt nuggets say its a no-brainer. It is a brainer. Tax gas. Tax disposable diapers. Tax air. Stop picking on the 20 percent who apparently are second class citizens.

Report this

By Dan, July 25, 2007 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe we should legalize weed to solve the healthcare problems.  Sounds like win-win to me.  We would have a new industry and more jobs, a new tax revenue stream, and lots of law enforcement funding to use elsewhere.  Plus people could get stoned, and perhaps chill out a little bit.  I don’t smoke weed but i think this might help.

Report this
farmertx's avatar

By farmertx, July 25, 2007 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

T Billis,
Shrub will never have nightmares. Were his feeble mind capable of thought that could produce nightmares, he would not sleep right now, with images of the young who have sacrificed life and body for his ego.

Rowdy. I am 62, no health coverage and waiting for Medicare in 3 years, if I live that long.
I reckon that you refer to the welfare moms, rather than the working poor.
The welfare moms, those who will not work, regardless, but who will always have another baby.
Yes,something needs to be done to address that.
Hopefully, once congress remembers that they represent US and not special interests and impeach these two, we will get a leader that will begin work on restoring America and solving our many problems.

Report this

By John, July 25, 2007 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What are all you bleeding hearts going to do when you tax the tobacco business out of existence with your spend sombody else’s money?  Will you be willing then to put up the money to solve someone else’s problem.(I don’t smoke)
As for me, if people can’t afford to take care of their kids, don’t have them.  Otherwise suffer.  If the kids die then get procecuted for murder. The president is right on this one, don’t take more of our money to fix a private problem.

Report this

By Rich, July 25, 2007 at 1:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amy get your facts right, you did not mention the Cigar Industry is the one which is unfairly singled out.

Let’s bash Bush on another topic this one is a draconian tax that will not serve our kids. Cigar smokers will not buy as many or give-up cigars all together. Small business owners of Cigar bars will close it’s doors and producers of cigars will close it’s doors as well.

I’m sure you guys welcome this, but ask yourselves if cigar smokers are hurting our kids, and the end result of this tax is that the revenue will not be available.

Only alternative will be a blackmarket on Cigars inturn will get more cops on the street costing the tax payers money, more people in jail that costs more money.

Maybe you guys want to pay for that as well?

Target the real problem of America, obesity. Maybe a “fat tax” is in order, not Cigar Smokers!

Report this

By THOMAS BILLIS, July 25, 2007 at 12:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I say to hell with health insurance for kids and we lower the smoking age to ten only for anyone’s kids who is heartless enough to take the part of the cigarette companies over the health of kids.
Everyday the Moron In Chief does something to lock up worst President ever award.Do not worry Mr President it is already a runaway.I always knew you were stupid but I did not realize how heartless you are.I hope in your old age you are plagued by nightmares that contain the faces of the kids you will have killed by denying them health care.

Report this

By rowdy, July 24, 2007 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

you go george,use that magic veto. i’m 60 years old and don’t have any health coverage. fuck those breeders and their children. give me some goddamned coverage, i fucking need it,i’m old. this is the only time i have ever agreed with you, you asshole.

Report this

By Thom, July 24, 2007 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I try…I really try to see both sides of every issue….and I really try to understand why. The only reason “why” I can come up with anymore is because the guy is a F-tard….apparently the colonoscopy removed what little was left of his heart and brain…good thing it was free for him….

Report this

By jbart, July 24, 2007 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again, the “holier than thou” president, the one expecting the people of our country to “back” his infamous “FAITH-BASED INIATIVES”, has shown himself to be full of s**t.  His only faith, and the GOD he serves is “$$$$”. Nothing less, nothing more. He has NO sympathy for those in our society that needs just that, sympathy. But, what’s the worst aspect of his apathy to those in need, is his stupidity.  I’m “sickened” that we, somehow, elected a “retarded” leader, and (worse) Commander-in-Chief”, one that doesn’t even have the sense to “know” just how stupid he really is.  In less fortunate families, they know who is idiotic. I’m sure that the Bushes are aware that “Dubya’s” a family disgrace. But, they can’t admit that their genes “mutated” negatively. I, for one, wouldn’t trust this imbecile to cut my lawn properly.  But, I’m expected to “trust” him to run my country? The world is “upside down” folks. We need to fix what we broke. Please, for all of us, vote/work for change.  Not, a down the road sort of change”, but a real, long-lasting change.  Get out and VOTE !! Spread the word, sad as it may be, to take our country back from those that have taken it away. We only have ourselves to fix it, or lose it to those that are purely self-serving. Those who will take advantage until there’s nothing of value worth saving. I, for one, will not just “go away”. I can only ask for support of community, and staying power. It’s worth the fight.

Report this

By Dale Headley, July 24, 2007 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My guess is that President Bush will veto this legislation, even if it appears to have a veto-proof majority.  Why?  Because he will not be a candidate again, and it is more important to him to please his rich friends in the tobacco and insurance industries who contributed to his last campaign than to ease the pain and suffering of people in need.  George Bush doesn’t give a damn about ordinary people - only the people with money and power who pulled his strings.

Report this

By CitizenDefender, July 24, 2007 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

Only one comment so far on this most important of moral issues, our children?
President George W. Bush not only proves to be a deceiver and warmonger but a sadist as well.
  The thought of any child going without proper medical care to get them through until adulthood only robs this nations of future prodigies.
Any physician who would turn away a child because Medical pays low premiums is also culpable in this situation.
  President George W. Bush is in a government position that must prove it integrity by its moral compass.
  Mr. President you apparently have no moral compass.
  Perhaps the parents of child who are affected by this inhumane federal policy should create a coalition and take whatever civil and criminal actions against this branch of our government that the law allows. If no law exists then stand together to get one created that will allow you to go after elected officials even after they have left office.
  In the meantime every community should provide an outreach program for their children to cover basic medical needs until the laws are changed.
  Shame on the Federal government for allowing such a scoundrel to remain in office. The prodigal son of George H. W. Bush truly reflects the sins of the father.

Report this
farmertx's avatar

By farmertx, July 24, 2007 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

A serious issue that will get absolutely nowhere with this president. All his friends,all 3, have health insurance and he can’t understand why everyone doesn’t.
Any bill passed will be vetoed or failing that signed with an attendant signing statement nullifying the signing.
Getting him out of office NOW is the only way anything that matters to American’s will be accomplished.

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook