House extends child health program

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- The House is temporarily extending a popular health insurance program for children.

The vote handed Democratic leaders a disappointing end this year to their efforts to expand the initiative.

Democratic lawmakers, with considerable help from Republicans, were looking to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by 35 billion dollars. President Bush vetoed two bills that would have provided the additional money. He said the bill would move too many children from private coverage to government-sponsored coverage.

The extension for S-CHIP will provide states with enough money to cover those enrolled in the program through March 2009. But Democrats had spent months demanding more. They overwhelmingly supported use of a tobacco tax increase to expand coverage to an additional 4 million children. They're promising that the issue will be revisited many times next year.

But first, Democratic lawmakers will try to override Bush's second veto of the S-CHIP legislation when they return in January.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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