The House today voted 265-142 on a revised bill to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill.
Bush vetoed an earlier reauthorization bill on Oct. 3.
The new legislation would still fund the program at $35 billion above the programs baseline of $25 billion over five years using tobacco tax money as a funding source, but it would phase childless adults out of the program within one year instead of two and take more steps to prevent substitution of SCHIP coverage for private coverage, as well as ensure that illegal immigrants would not obtain coverage.
It would also set income eligibility at up to 300% of the federal poverty level, just over $60,000 for a family of four. Democrats have responded to the Republicans concerns, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a news conference today. Were hopeful that those who opposed the bill will now reconsider their vote.
The White House, however, dismissed the revisions in a written statement. The legislation continues to allow states to expand coverage without assuring that poor children have coverage first; continues to provide coverage for some adults through 2012; and would continue to move children from private health insurance into government coverage, according to the White House.
The tally was seven votes less than a two-thirds majority, and several House members were absent.
In a teleconference with reporters after the vote, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said 14 members who were absent from the House floor planned to support the president. That's 156 votes against the bill, "obviously sufficient to sustain the veto," Leavitt said. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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