About 4 million more children would get government provided health care under a bill the House has passed.
Democrats are calling the bill a down payment on President-elect Barack Obama's goal that every child get medical care, as well as all adults who want it. Departing President George W. Bush vetoed similar legislation twice in 2007.
About 7 million children from working families with too much income to qualify for Medicaid now get government-provided health care. To pay the $32 billion cost of insuring 4 million more children, the bill increases cigarette taxes by 61 cents -- to a dollar a pack. The Senate plans to begin working on a similar bill Thursday. Some Republicans complain the House bill covers up to 600,000 non-citizen children of legal immigrants.
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