Former President Bush twice vetoed a bill that would allow more of America's children to benefit from the SCHIP program (The State Children’s Health Insurance Program) that gives their parents access to affordable healthcare.
Many families are caught in a position where they do not make enough money for traditional, private health insurance programs, yet make too much money to qualify their children for Medicaid. So these parents and children remain without health care and health insurance with no way out.
But now that the Democratic majority has more influence, the SCHIP program has been modified and passed - enabling another 4 million children (in addition to the already 6 million who qualify) to avail of health care via SCHIP insurance.
Almost every Democrat voted for the expansion, almost every Republican against, based on the 290-145 vote. The main fear of many who voted against the bill was fear of undocumented (illegal) children availing of the program and worries that the passage of this bill will encourage further illegal immigration, as well as taking issue with how the bill will be funded and whether the funds will pan out.
President Obama, however, maintains that "as the worsening economy causes families to lose their jobs and health insurance, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to ensure that every child in America has access to affordable health care."
So who will foot this $35 billion dollar cost? Smokers, for the most part! A new tax of 62c is being placed on every pack of cigarettes. While smokers will be dismayed, it's yet another reason to quit, no?
The Bill is expected to be signed by the President by tonight.
What do you think of the expansion of the SCHIP program? How do you feel about the fact that 10 million of our kids will now have access to health insurance? Do you worry it will encourage even more illegal immigration?
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