The Senate passed the re-vamped SCHIP expansion bill on Thursday with a vote of 64-30. The House passed the same bill 265-142 last week with only one Democrat voting no, 26 votes short of the two-thirds required to override the veto promised by President Bush.
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance to children from low-income families who cannot afford private healthcare but do not qualify for federal Medicaid, will run out of funding on November 16.
The bill would provide $60 billion to fund SCHIP over five years, instead of the current $25 billion five-year funding level. Raising the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents to $1 per pack would cover the added cost. President Bush vetoed a similar bill last month. The House failed to override that veto.