President Bush Vetoes SCHIP Bill
As he had promised to do, President George Bush today vetoed a bill that had been passed by the House and Senate to extend for five more years the state/federal State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The bill would have added $35 billion more in federal matching funds to enable states to enroll additional children in the program, an amount Bush criticized as too large. The President also said the SCHIP enlargement would encroach on private insurance plans and would be an "opening wedge" to what he called "government-run" health care. The vote for the bill in the Senate was large enough to override a veto, but the House vote was not, and supporters said they will try in the coming two weeks to persuade more House Republicans to vote for override, noting that the child insurance program has wide public support. Controversy about the bill centers on whether states should be allowed to insure children whose family incomes are as much as 300 times the federal poverty level, as 15 states currently do, or should limit enrollment to poorer children.