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Steve and Cokie Roberts: Bush fumbles, Obama recovers (Indiana Gazette) [View All]

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-18-09 06:48 AM
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Steve and Cokie Roberts: Bush fumbles, Obama recovers (Indiana Gazette)
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Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 4:44 AM EST

... The first opportunity will be expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides coverage for poor children and pregnant women. Congress is now deciding whether to reverse a 1996 law that bars legal immigrants from qualifying for those benefits during their first five years in this country.

This is a smart and humane idea that would pay for itself. Early immunization and prenatal care keeps moms and their kids out of expensive emergency rooms and holds down health costs. The House bill lifts the ban, but powerful senators are resisting, and Obama should make the repeal an early test of his influence.

As Jennifer Ng'andu, a health specialist at the Hispanic group La Raza, told the New York Times: "Children should not be forced to wait five years for health care. Five years is a lifetime to a child" ...

Obama's biggest decision on immigration will be whether to push for a comprehensive reform package that includes a way for undocumented families to legalize their status. We'd like to see him do that. He should heed Bush's warning and spend his capital early, before it dissipates. As Cardinal Roger Mahony, of Los Angeles, said recently: "Immigrants must be brought out of the shadows so that they can fully contribute to our nation's economic and social well-being" ...
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