After a nearly two-year ordeal that divided Democrats and Republicans and involved two presidential vetoes, President Obama signed a bill on Wednesday to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
SCHIP provides health insurance coverage to about 7 million children. This expanded bill will extend coverage to an additional 4 million children.
The WSJ Health Blog reports that doctor-owned hospitals were winners in the bill and big tobacco was a loser.
The bill will increase the national tobacco tax by 60 cents to about $1 per pack to fund the $33 billion expansion. This will please the tobacco control folks, who say the best way to reduce smoking is by increasing the price of cigarettes through taxes. It does mean, however, the expansion is funded through a declining revenue source.