President Bush will veto the SCHIP bill today, setting the stage for a battle in Congress to override the veto. In all likelihood, the president will prevail.
There have been several arguments as to why the president thinks SCHIP expansion is a bad idea. As usual, most are misleading.
But one is true. The president's people claim that if SCHIP is expanded, some families who already have private insurance will be tempted to switch to public insurance. According to CBO estimates, 35% of children eligible under SCHIP also have access to private insurance.
And this is where the philosophical difference between liberals vs. conservatives comes squarely into view. Liberals believe that a system where some who don't need a particular benefit (in this case health insurance) but receive it anyway is a worthy trade off to ensure that all who need the benefit receive it. Conservatives turn that philosophy on its head. They believe that a system where some who need a particular benefit but do not receive it is a worthy trade off to ensure that no one receives a benefit they do not need.
There are many other examples of this, from classic "entitlements" to imprisonment. It reallys is the core of the stereotypes about "bleeding heart" liberals and heartless conservatives. The interesting question, though one likely not soon answered, is what sorts of life experiences or brain hard-wiring does it require for us to come to such radically different value judgements?