Members of the House Ways and Means Committee voted 24-17 to approve H.R. 3162, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act.

The bill would increase State Children’s Health Insurance Program funding to an average of $12 billion per over the next 5 years, from $5 billion today, by increasing tobacco taxes and reallocating some money now set to go to the Medicare Advantage program.

President Bush is supporting efforts to increase SCHIP spending to $6 billion per year and has threatened to veto H.R. 3162 if it reaches his desk.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, has supported expansion of SCHIP, but it is saying the proposed Medicare Advantage cuts would be the end of the program.

AHIP cites a prediction by Peter Orszag, Congressional Budget Office director, that H.R. 3162 would cut Medicare Advantage enrollment to 5.5 million in 2012, from 8.2 million today.