Heller helps block override of children’s health insurance veto | NevadaAppeal.com

Heller helps block override of children’s health insurance veto

Rep. Dean Heller Thursday cast the only vote among Nevada’s congressional delegation to uphold the President’s veto of the children’s health program.

Heller joined 155 other House members ” all but two of them Republicans ” in blocking the override which would have expanded the health insurance program to cover 10 million children of the nation’s working poor.

The other members of the delegation, Democrat Shelley Berkley and Republican Jon Porter, both of Las Vegas, voted with the Democratic majority for the override.

Heller said he agreed with the President that the expansion bill went too far, saying it would provide health insurance to families which can afford health care coverage without federal assistance.

In the Senate, Democrats had enough GOP support to override. In the House, they drew support from 43 Republicans. But that still left them 17 votes short of the 290 needed to override the veto.

“Congress should now focus on legislation that will provide health insurance to our nation’s children without providing free healthcare to illegal immigrants, increasing taxes and expanding this program to wealthy adults,” said Heller in a press release.

His vote drew an immediate rebuke from the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Today, Representative Dean Heller joined President Bush and tobacco companies in blocking health coverage for 10 million children,” said Chris Van Hollen in a statement issued from Washington. “He should be ashamed of himself. Representative Heller receives health care at taxpayer’s expense. He will be held accountable for voting to block access to affordable, quality health care for Nevada’s Children.”

Heller, however, said he is co-sponsoring a plan to reauthorize SCHIP for five years and create a new tax credit for families between 200-300 percent of the federal poverty line and set up a grants program for states to cover their uninsured.

And he said he did support extending the current SCHIP program for 18 months while Congress works on a compromise.