(Washington, DC) -- Republican lawmakers are concerned about possible abuses of a sweeping children's health bill that passed in U.S. House on Wednesday.
The State Children's Health Insurance Program bill, or S-CHIP, is designed to expand the health insurance program for low and middle-income children.
A similar bill has already been vetoed twice by President Bush, who called it a step toward "government-run health care."
Now some Republicans are complaining about a provision in the legislation would give states the option to waive the five-year waiting period to offer health insurance to legal immigrant children and pregnant immigrant women.
While the provision is intended to extend coverage only to legal immigrants, many conservatives in Congress fear illegal immigrants could abuse the program.
The S-CHIP bill is expected to be one of the first pieces of legislation signed by new President Barack Obama after he takes office next week.
The Senate Finance Committee is slated to start drafting a similar measure Thursday.
The provision extending care to immigrants will not be included in the Senate's version.
(Copyright 2009 by Newsroom Solutions)