WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is calling the State Children's Health Insurance Program "only the first step."
He's signed a reauthorization bill that extends health coverage to 4 million uninsured children. Obama calls the measure a "down payment" on his commitment to coverage for every single American.
At an East Room signing ceremony, he adds that "health care for our children" is the obligation of a "decent society."
The bill went to the White House fresh from House passage on a vote of 290-135.
The measure calls for spending nearly $33 billion more on the program, which now enrolls an estimated 7 million children. Lawmakers raised the federal tobacco tax as a way of generating that revenue.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)