WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate passed a revised health insurance bill Friday, said to provide coverage approximately 10 million children, despite anticipating it will be vetoed.
The 64-to-30 vote comes one week after the House approved the same bill. The reworked bill differs slightly from one vetoed on Oct. 3, but politicians fear the worst. On Thursday, debate over the bill had been cut short. According to the New York Times, Senate Republican leaders “objected to Democratic requests to allow more time for the bipartisan negotiations seeking a compromise. The purpose of the talks was to win over enough House Republicans to override the veto promised by the president.”
The Democrats may continue following the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) current plan, however, several state governments fear that they will run out of money in the mean time.
The new legislation, like the original bill, would preserve coverage for 6.6 million children and add nearly 4 million to the rolls. The bill would add $35 billion to the program, providing a total of $60 billion over five years. The additional money would come from higher tobacco taxes, including a 61-cent increase in the cigarette tax, to $1 a pack.
President Bush objects to the projected increase in tobacco taxes, but Congress, as of now, is not considering any other way to pay for the bill.