Groups pressure president to pass SCHIP

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Pressure is mounting on the Bush administration to allow legislation that reauthorizes funding for a federal children's healthcare program. The fate of Medicare funding for nursing homes is tied up in such legislation.

More than 270 groups, including the Service Employees International Union, which organizes workers at long-term care facilities, urged the president not to veto the House and Senate bills. President Bush has complained that the bills are too costly and increase federal government's involvement in healthcare.

Lawmakers are trying to reconcile the $35 billion Senate bill and $50 billion House bill for the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Nursing home providers are paying close attention to the outcome. Embedded in the House bill are $2.7 billion worth of Medicare Part A cuts over five years to skilled nursing facilities.