WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The bill that increases funding for the state children's health insurance program by $35 billion was delivered to President Bush Monday. The president has vowed to veto SCHIP, despite bipartisan support for the program. A controversial health insurance bill continues to divide the White House and bipartisan lawmakers Monday. They want President Bush to sign the measure -- but he says no -- claiming it calls for too much big government. Monday morning a group of children made a special delivery to the White House: one million signatures asking president bush not to veto the state children's health program, or "SCHIP." SCHIP recipient Keith Chester said, "Sometimes I get sick and have to go to the doctor. I want to see him instead of going to the emergency room when I'm sick." Keith is one of more than six million American children whose health care is subsidized under SCHIP. Using a combination of state and federal dollars the program covers kids whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford private insurance. Both the House and Senate have passed bills to double SCHIP's funding -- to a total of $60 billion over the next five years -- the president is refusing to sign them. Michigan Rep. John Dingell said, "There's only one place in Washington where they don't want this bill signed, and that's right across the street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The president wants a much more limited expansion of the program. He says the proposed funding increases are a step toward government health insurance. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said, "The president's position is one that he stands on -- on his -- on principle. The president doesn't make decisions based on those public opinion polls." The president may not be influenced by polls but most Americans seem to sharply disagree with him on the SCHIP issue. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 72 percent say they support the increase.
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