President Bush has vetoed H.R. 976, a bill that would have extended the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The law that has authorized SCHIP expired Sunday.

Bill supporters, including insurance groups, have argued that the extension was important to protecting the ability of children to get regular, timely access to health care.

Bush declared Monday, in a proclamation designating the day as Child Health Day, 2007, that SCHIP is important and ought to be reauthorized, but he says H.R. 976 was too expensive.

Bush has proposed increasing SCHIP funding to $30 billion over 5 years, from $25 billion.

H.R. 976 would have increased SCHIP funding to $60 billion over 5 years.

In addition to being too expensive, H.R. 976 would have given states too much flexibility to use SCHIP funding to cover moderate-income children as well as low-income children, Bush says.