Senate Passes Bill to Expand Child Health Coverage

By: AP
By: AP

The Senate has passed a bill extending government-sponsored health insurance coverage to about 4 million uninsured children.

It authorizes an additional $32.8 billion over the next four-and-a-half years for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

To pay for it, the federal tax on cigarettes will go up from 39 cents to a dollar per pack.

Under the bill, children of legal immigrants will also no longer have to wait five-years before they're eligible for coverage under Medicaid and SCHIP.

The House plans to take up the same measure next week.

Even with the added spending, an estimated 5 million children would still be without health insurance.

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