Thursday saw the US Senate finally pass a new bill that will give 4 million American children health insurance for the first time. President Obama is said to be a very strong advocate of the new legislation and was pushing for its acceptance.
Former president Bush had on two occasions used his presidential veto to block providing health cover to children of the world’s wealthiest country.
The program is set to cost over $30 billion and the government believes that this cash can be raised by increasing taxes on cigarettes sales.
The $30 billion will be given to individual states to allow them to provide health care services for uninsured children.
The full effects of the bill will not however be felt for another four years, as there will be a lag time between the tax money starting to roll in and it being distributed to the different states.
One controversial point of the new law allows insurance cover pregnant women and children of legal immigrants who are not American citizens. Up until now, State Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid do not cover people who have not obtained citizenship.
Many are wondering if this is a first step in a slow process to bring in universal medical cover for all Americans rather than the current system, which relies heavily on private insurance contributions.