President Bush vetoed a bipartisan bill expanding a popular children's health insurance..

October 3, 2007 - President Bush vetoed a bipartisan bill expanding a popular children's health insurance program Wednesday, setting up an override battle with Congress. The White House sought little attention for Mr. Bush's action, with the president casting his veto behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage. The program is a joint state-federal effort that subsidizes health coverage for 6.6 million people, mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage. The Democrats who control Congress, with significant support from Republicans, passed the legislation to add $35 billion over five years to allow an additional 4 million children into the program. It would be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents to $1 per pack. Democratic congressional leaders said they may put off the override attempt for as long as two weeks to maximize pressure on Republican House members whose votes will be critical.( Bush Vetoes Children's Health Bill President Says Expansion Of Popular Kids' Health Insurance Program Is Too Costly, CBS News, Oct. 3, 2007 3:31pm). As pointed out by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) if the S-CHIP bill is defeated, there is nothing to prevent lawmakers from resurrecting the tobacco tax increase as part of some other legislation. ( Tobacco Tax Still Seaworthy - Federal increase could still set sail even if Bush’s S-CHIP veto torpedoes legislation, CSP Daily News, September 27, 2007) The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates the following benefits from a 61-cent federal cigarette tax increase: Pack sales decline in the US: -1.855 billion, Percent decrease in youth smoking : 9.2%, Increase in total number of kids alive today who will not become smokers: 1,873,000, Number of current adult smokers in the US who would quit: 1,171,000. The group also points to millions of dollars in health savings from fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births. Add to that hundreds of millions in savings from fewer smoking caused heart attacks and strokes. The Campaign sees nearly $44 billion dollars in long-term health care savings from overall smoking declines. Of course there is no way to estimate the decreased emotional toll on loved ones of people who would quit smoking and avoid the agony of lung cancer and other smoking- related illnesses. (S-CHIP Up in Smoke, Peter Maer, CBS News) See related news briefs stories:September 27, 2007 September 21, 2007 September 19, 2007 July 28, 2007 July 18, 2007 and July 9, 2007.