Friday, July 20, 2007

Senate Finance Committee Approves SCHIP Expansion Legislation That Would Increase Tobacco Tax

Senate panel OKs $35B increase for kids' health care

By Richard Wolf and David Jackson USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The biggest expansion of health insurance likely to emerge from Congress in the next two years cleared its first hurdle Thursday but remains on a collision course with President Bush's threatened veto.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 17-4 for a five-year, $35 billion increase to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which now enables health coverage for 6.6 million children. An estimated 3.2 million more uninsured people could be covered under the plan. It would be paid for by raising the 39-cent federal tax on a pack of cigarettes to $1.

The plan attracted six of the panel's 10 Republicans, along with all 11 Democrats. Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, confidently predicted Senate passage before Congress adjourns for its August recess. "It's clear to me this will not be filibustered" or blocked by Republicans, he said.

Abridged read it all here >>

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