Barack Obama may be celebrating an early victory in his campaign promises of health care reform, as the U.S. House of Representatives votes today to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan and increase taxes on cigarettes to fund it.
The bill intends to expand SCHIP health care coverage to over 11 million children by raising the cigarette tax to $1 a pack, with taxes on other tobacco products being raised as well. 6.7 million children in low income families are currently covered by the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
“In these tough economic times, more and more parents can’t afford health coverage for their kids. Millions of families felt abandoned in 2007 when the Children’s Health Insurance Program got vetoed. But I’m committed to go the last mile now and finally see a CHIP expansion signed into law.” –Max Baucus, Senate Finance Committee Chairman
The Senate Finance Committee is also moving forward on it, and plans to draft its version of the bill on Thursday, also financing the expanded children’s health care program with higher tobacco taxes.