Even as a fierce battle brews in Congress over Republican opposition to a $35 billion expansion of children’s health insurance, California’s heavily gerrymandered election districts mean Southland GOP lawmakers face little political risk over their stance. Every Southern California Republican voted against the bill last month, which would add as many as 3.1 million more children to health-insurance rolls nationwide, including about 203,320 in the Golden State. And furious Democrats, preparing for a Thursday vote to override President George W. Bush’s rejection of the measure, are mounting a campaign against GOP lawmakers who oppose the plan. But Southland Republicans have little to fear from the attack ads and phone campaigns, California political analysts said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“There is not a single Republican incumbent who will lose their seat because of that vote,” predicted Los Angeles GOP political consultant Allan Hoffenblum. “There might be some piling on, … (but) you’ve got to remember, these districts are so gerrymandered and so Republican.” In opposing the measure, many GOP lawmakers decried it as the beginning of socialized medicine and objected to allowing middle-class families to get government-funded health-insurance coverage when kids in families below the poverty level are still uninsured. And despite criticism from a coalition of unions and liberal groups running ads and issuing condemnations, nearly all have indicated they will back Bush’s veto and vote against the override attempt. “The last thing I would ever want to do is make the federal government responsible for the health care of all of America’s children,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach. “The real plan here is to set the stage for a movement of the next gigantic step in the direction of what should be called Hillarycare,” Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, said during the debate. Aides to both Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, and David Dreier, R-San Dimas, said the lawmakers support the children’s health insurance program, but want to maintain it for families on the margins of poverty. The Democratic expansion, they said, would pull wealthier children into government-run health care. “He wants to cover the children who most need the health care,” McKeon spokeswoman Lindsey Mask said. “We know there are still children who are in need, and we want to do everything that we possibly can to ensure that children have an opportunity to have access to quality health care,” Dreier said during the House floor debate. Democrats and children’s activists maintain their goal is to catch kids from families who are not poor enough to qualify from Medicaid but are too poor to obtain private health insurance. “We sort of see this as a good first step toward insuring all the children in the country,” said Ed Shelleby, spokesman for the Children’s Defense Fund. Southern California Republicans acknowledge there are thousands of uninsured children in their districts, but contend that they may not necessarily be eligible for government care. Rohrabacher, for example, maintained that most of the estimated 10,000 kids without insurance living in his congressional district are illegal immigrants. “We should not be taking care of the health care costs of illegal immigrants,” he said. “That money is coming right out of the pot that’s available for our citizens.” About 812,000 children are currently enrolled in California’s Healthy Families program and an additional 781,000 remain uninsured. Under the bill, California would have received about $1.4 million in federal funding. Lesley Cummings, executive director of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, said that money would have allowed the state to fund its current enrollment threshold, but not to grow. “The amount of money that has been provided in the past has been insufficient to fund the caseloads,” Cummings said. If Bush’s veto stands, she warned, “we would be looking at a major shortfall in California of a long-term nature. “Our policymakers would have to take a long, hard look at the program and make some very difficult decisions,” she said. Bob Mulholland, spokesman for the California Democratic Party, said he believes some Republican House members could suffer politically from their vote. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, agreed. “I wouldn’t want to be a member of Congress in a contested election and be on the wrong side of that issue,” he said. But, analysts noted, given that contested House seats in California are a rarity, lawmakers are probably safe. “The impact will be more psychological than practical,” said Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont-McKenna College. “There aren’t very many seats at play, and it’s probably not going to shift any seats from one column to another.” email@example.com (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!