Congress & White House working on compromise for health insurance to poor children - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Congress & White House working on compromise for health insurance to poor children

Congress and the White House are set for another showdown.

This time over providing health insurance to over 9-million poor children. 

A bipartisan Senate bill would fund the program by raising taxes on cigarettes but the President is promising a veto.

For over 8-years, Julie Murphy and her two boys have received health care through the government's Children Health Insurance Program. 

Like millions, Murphy earns too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance. 

Julie Murphy says, "I can't imagine not being on the program, it has paid for anything from shots to regular visits which are so much money, I don't know how I could have managed."

Murphy and her boys are among the lucky ones.

A group of health care providers has now launched a nationwide campaign supporting a bipartisan Senate bill that would increase the Children's Program by $35 billion over 5-years, double what the Bush Administration wants to spend, while also preventing cuts in Medicare.

Dr. Nancy Nielsen of the American Medical Association says, "this bill is a win-win-win.  It helps America's seniors, and America's children get the health care they need."

Funding would come from a 61-cent tax increase on each pack of cigarettes.  President Bush says he'll veto the plan because it would encourage too many Americans to switch from private insurance to a government plan.

President Bush says, "I believe government CAN NOT provide affordable health care. I believe it will cost - ah would cause the QUALITY of care to diminish."

Some senators argue this is a great plan.

Democrat Senator John Rockefeller says, "nobody thought we could do it we got it out of the finance committee with a huge bipartisan vote the President says he'll veto it I bet he doesn't dare."

Despite White House objections to the Senate bill, a costlier version may be taken up the House.

Time is running out for lawmakers to win over President Bush.

The current federal Children's Health Program is set to expire September 30th.

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