Health Care

Children's Insurance Legislation Faces Critics, Veto

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Both the House and Senate passed bills to extend and expand a popular program, known as S-CHIP, that provides health insurance to children of the working poor. President Bush has vowed a veto. Now, as members retreat to their districts for the August recess, the real politicking begins.

But some of the claims being made about the measure don't stand up to scrutiny.

The single biggest complaint opponents have about both the House and Senate bills to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program is that they would expand the program too much. Critics say the bills would cover kids who are wealthier than those the program was designed to serve.

Another heated issue is whether the bills allow coverage of illegal immigrants.

But critics of the bills aren't the only ones playing fast and loose. For Democrats, the hardest part of assembling their bills was figuring out how to offset the added S-CHIP costs — $35 billion over five years in the the Senate bill and $50 billion in the House version — so as not to add to the federal deficit.



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