The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation this week to expand an existing program that provides health insurance for children of low-income families. The bill is designed to provide health insurance for those that cannot afford to purchase private health insurance but do not qualify for Medicaid. In total, the revised program would insure an estimated 10 million children.
The bill will now move to the U.S. Senate for consideration this week. The White House has stated President Bush will veto the bill if passed by the Senate unless a two-thirds majority vote needed to override a presidential veto can be reached. President Bush argues the legislation would be too similar to government-run health insurance.
Now comes the fun part. The proposed legislation would require an additional $35 billion in funding over a period of five years. The money would come from increased taxes on tobacco products. The taxes on a pack of cigarettes would increase $0.61, to a whopping $1.00 per pack.