MT Senator Proposes $35B Increase for S-CHIP

Washington, D.C. – WASHINGTON (AP) - A plan by Montana Senator Max Baucus, to expand the state Children's Health Insurance program by 35 (b) billion dollars, has easily cleared a hurdle in the US Senate. The Senate vote means it now heads to the floor for debate. The program is designed to provide health care for children whose families are low income. The expansion would be paid for by increasing the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 61 cents, and would bring spending for the program
to 60 (b) billion over the next five years. President Bush has indicated he will veto the Senate bill. The White House has recommended a five (b) billion dollar increase in the program, as opposed to the 35 (b) billion proposed by Democrat Baucus. Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal has called on Washington to continue the insurance program. The governor says that more than 6-thousand children in the state use the program and says thousands more are eligible. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure by the end of this week.