The House has passed a sweeping expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that will extend covered to 4 million uninsured kids using revenue from cigarette taxes and cuts in subsidies to private Medicare plans. The bill, which was approved 225-204, is a step toward universal coverage over Republican objections, reports the New York Times.
“Today’s debate comes down to this: Do you favor big tobacco or children?” said Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott. President Bush has threatened to veto the measure. The current children's program, which covers 6.6 million youngsters, is scheduled to expire in September.