Bush Vetoes Children's Health Insurance Bill

George Bush has vetoed legislation that would fund and expand the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a highly successful program that makes sure poor children can receive medical care when they are sick. Senate Democrats passed the SCHIP legislation by a vote of 69-39, but the 265-159 vote in the House, while decisive, fell just short of a veto-proof majority. Democrats have vowed to fight the veto, and are expected to vote again on the legislation next week.

Bush has called the legislation "excessive" in its cost. In related news, the Iraq war has now cost taxpayers over $456 billion--and counting. - Source: Democrats.org

VOA's news coverage on Bush vetoing children's health insurance program is below. It is titled "The President Vetoes Child Health Insurance (SCHIP) Reauthorization"

Bush has vetoed a bill that would expand a popular government-run health insurance program for children called SCHIP.

The SCHIP Health Insurance veto is only the fourth during the president's nearly seven years in office and sets up a showdown with Congress, which overwhelmingly supported the bill.

Mr. Bush has said the measure is "irresponsible" and "would dramatically expand the (children's health insurance) program beyond its original intent."

The Democratic Party-controlled Congress approved S-CHIP expanding the program by $35 billion over five years. Under the measure, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) would provide health coverage for about 10 million children in low-income families not able to afford private insurance but earning too much to qualify for federal programs.

The children's health insurance bill calls for the federal tax on cigarettes to be raised 61 cents, to $1 a pack, to help pay for the expansion. The measure is supported by both Democrats and members of Mr. Bush's Republican party, but it is not clear if it enjoys enough support to override the president's veto.

At least four million children are currently provided health insurance coverage by the S-CHIP program. The United States is one of the few wealthy countries with no universal health care program.

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