Health Program Vote

1 decade 4 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, September 25 2007 Sep 25, 2007 Tuesday, September 25, 2007 6:16:16 PM CDT September 25, 2007 in News

Lawmakers were set to defy a presidential veto threat and vote to expand the state children's health program that expires on Sunday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. said, "President Bush should support the bipartisan S-CHIP legislation for ten million reasons."

The measure would extend coverage to more children of the nation's working poor. The money would come from increased tobacco taxes including a hike in the federal cigarette tax to a dollar a pack. President Bush vowed to block it.

"I believe this is a step toward federalization of health care. I know that their proposal is beyond the scope of the program, and that's why I'm going to veto the bill," Bush said.

The President looks increasingly isolated on the issue. On Monday, the bill's Republican sponsor stood alongside hospital and insurance groups in support of the 10-year-old program.

"We've seen more kids get regular checkups, more access to care, getting a healthier start to life and being more productive day in day out," said Rich Umbedensto of the American Hospital Association.

A veto could force Congress to pass an emergency extension of S-CHIP. Federal health officials are urging states to draft contingency plans to help children who may lose coverage without it.

If President Bush vetoes the bill, democratic leaders in the senate say it will be difficult to get enough votes to override the veto.

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