When the vote to override President Bush's veto of a children's health insurance bill failed in the House this week, it marked a campaign watershed, Salon's Walter Shapiro writes, predicting that it will be replayed endlessly in attack ads as congressional races heat up. The lines are drawn: Democrats will frame the issue as saving kids vs. saving money. Republicans will champion fiscal restraint: covering only the poorest children.
The children's health insurance measure, which would renew and expand coverage in a Clinton-era bill, is envisioned by Dems as a first step toward universal coverage. Which is why, Shapiro notes, this battle should be seen as merely the first volley in what promises to be an epic war over what is to be done for the 47 million Americans who are uninsured.