President Bush threatens veto over S-CHIP Program

by Jennifer Johnson
NBC News

Millions of American children are at risk of losing their health insurance unless a compromise is reached between President Bush and Congress by the end of the month.

Democrats want to add billions to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, while President Bush says that will result in a veto.

At a Thursday press conference Bush drew new battle lines with Congress over the so-called S-CHIP program.

The S-CHIP provides health insurance for millions of children whose families don't qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford private insurance.

"Congress made the decision to expand the eligibility of this program for families making up to 80-thousand dollars.  That's not the intent of the program.  The intent is to provide poor children health insurance," the President proclaimed.

Democrats deny that eligibility rules are changed in the bill.

"Just because the President has a bully pulpit doesn't mean he is accurate or right," said Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The White House has proposed new rules making it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children.

44-senators, including six Republicans have asked Mr. Bush to reconsider.

Democrats plan to fund the increase with a tobacco tax.

Time is running out.

The program expires September 30th unless a compromise is reached.

President Bush says short of a compromise, Congress should send him a temporary extension of the program, but Democrats say this latest bill is already a compromise.

They originally proposed a 50-billion dollar increase for the program.