Deal Nears For Children’s Health Insurance

Today’s New York Times reports that a House-Senate agreement is near on a final State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill. (Congressional leaders apparently were able to circumvent the obstructionist attempt to prevent a formal House-Senate conference from convening.)

The deal appears to adopt the main planks of the Senate bill, an additional $7 billion a year (instead of the House’s $10 billion) to cover as many as 4 million more kids.

And it sets aside, for now, the House provisions cutting wasteful subsidies to private insurers in the poorly named Medicare Advantage program.

Yet this bipartisan compromise bill still faces a veto from President Bush. Once again, compromise means nothing to obstructionist conservatives.

We know there’s enough Republican support in Senate to override the veto, but we don’t know yet about the House. Republican House members should expect major pressure, whether to stand with the unpopular Bush, or with a public that clearly expects kids to get health insurance.

What should that pressure look like? I’ll save that for my next post…


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