Democrats and some Republicans want to expand health insurance for children, paid for by increasing the tax on tobacco. President Bush has threatened a veto. Is it a step toward universal healthcare? Would it be "socialized medicine?" What would it mean for comprehensive healthcare reform? Also, on Capitol Hill, Donald Rumsfeld's in the hot seat over the cover-up in the death of Pat Tillman and, on Reporter's Notebook, Saudi Arabia says it might talk to Israel and open an embassy in Iraq.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was back on Capitol Hill today for the first time since President Bush replaced him with Robert Gates. Democrats accuse him of being part of a cover-up when former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. Mark Silva is covering the story for the Chicago Tribune.
Mark Silva, White House Correspondent, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune
President Bush and the Republican Congress created the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003. No new revenue was provided to fund almost $330 billion for five years of increased costs. Now, at a cost of $56 billion in five years, Democrats and some Republicans want to increase health coverage for millions of uninsured children—by raising the tax on tobacco. But President Bush says that's a step toward "government-run healthcare." The dispute is coming to a head this week as Congress debates the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which has to be re-authorized before it expires in September. Why has SCHIP become a political football? Would increasing it be a step toward universal healthcare? Do such well-intentioned stop-gaps prevent comprehensive healthcare reform?
Emily Pierce, Roll Call (@emilyprollcall)
John C. Goodman, President, National Center for Policy Analysis
Robert Greenstein, Executive Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Patrick Morrisey, principal staff author of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003
Daniel Callahan, Director of the Hasting Center
Recently, US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad said that Saudi Arabia--a Sunni country--was not doing all that it could to help stabilize the Shiite-dominated government of Iraq. Today, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said he was "astonished" by such criticism. After a rare meeting in Jeddah with Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Gates, the Foreign Minister, spoke of opening an embassy in Baghdad and talking with Israel for the first time in 15 years. Helene Cooper is traveling with Condoleezza Rice for the New York Times.