Democrats Call for Health Insurance Expansion

UNDATED -- Despite a veto threat, Democrats are calling for passage of a $35 billion expansion to a children's health-insurance program.

In the Democratic party's weekly radio message, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says 15 states will be left without funding for the program if President Bush doesn't sign the bill by the end of the month.

At issue is the Children's Health Insurance Program, which subsidizes health coverage for low-income people, mostly children.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced a plan on Monday to add $35 billion over five years to the program.

The move would add four million people to the more than six million already participating. It would be financed by raising the federal cigarette tax to $1 per pack.

The measure comes up for a House vote Tuesday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)