White House threatens to veto kids' insurance bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration said Saturday that senior advisers would recommend the president veto Senate legislation that would substantially increase funds for children's health insurance.
The legislation calls for a 61-cent increase in the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes. The revenue would be used to subsidize health insurance for children and some adults with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance on their own. Members of the Senate Finance Committee brokered a bipartisan agreement Friday that would add $35 billion to the program over the next five years. The Bush administration had instead recommend $5 billion.
The Senate legislation expands the State Children's Health Insurance Program beyond the original intent of the program, said White House Spokesman Tony Fratto.
"It's clear that it will have the effect of encouraging many to drop private coverage — purchased either through their employer or with their own resources — to go on the government-subsidized program," Fratto said. "Tax increases are neither necessary nor advisable to appropriately fund SCHIP."
Somebody needs to take that "Compassionate Conservative" sign that Bush wore around his neck in '00 while campaigning and stick it ....