Where does Sarah Palin stand on children’s health coverage?

The entire country now has heard about how Sarah Palin and her husband knew in advance that their son, Trig Palin, would be born with Down Syndrome. The Palins also must have known that they would have health insurance and the financial resources needed to pay for the extensive medical care Trig is likely to need throughout his life.

Here is 3-year old Emily Demko, another child with Down Syndrome, who lives with her
family in Ohio. The family has given permission to share this photo of their beautiful daughter and the story (details here) of their trials securing health coverage for Emily.

As of this spring, Emily was uninsured. Due to her Down Syndrome, the family could not find a private insurer willing to offer them affordable coverage for Emily. If the Bush Administration had not shut down Ohio’s efforts to expand its State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Emily would have been able to continue to secure decent, affordable public coverage. But the Bush Administration in August of 2007 issued a controversial ban on coverage of children in moderate-income families and twice vetoed bills to reauthorize and expand the SCHIP program.SCHIP is a popular, bi-partisan program. Sixty-eight Senators, including 18 Republicans, voted for the SCHIP reauthorization bill that President Bush vetoed (Senate vote). John McCain, however, stood with the President.So, along with knowing about Sarah Palin’s personal decision to have a child with Down Syndrome, it also would be good know if she agrees with her candidate’s decision to stand with President Bush against expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Right call or wrong call?

Jocelyn Guyer is the deputy executive director at the Center for Children and Families (CCF) and a senior researcher at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. This post represents her personal opinion not that of the Institute.