Friday, January 30, 2009

A Rocky Start For Health-Care Reform

In one fell swoop yesterday, the Senate nearly halved the number of children in the U.S. without health insurance, but the 66-32 vote to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) largely along party lines boded ill for enactment of the sweeping health-care reform that President Obama has promised.

The bill -- which parallels one approved in the House two weeks ago -- would cover an additional 4 million children at an estimated cost of nearly $33 billion over the next 4½ years by helping states provide health insurance for families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance.

Six Republicans crossed over to vote with Democrats for the expansion, which will be funded by raising the federal tax on cigarettes from 39 cents to $1 a pack.

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