Health care providers urge Congress to reauthorize CHIP funding

Michael Conroy  AP

Michael Conroy AP

It has now been more than 100 days since the Republican-controlled Congress allowed funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to lapse, and despite several infusions of stopgap funding from both Capitol Hill and the Department of Health and Human Services, states could run out of money as early as next week. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wants to pass as long an extension as possible and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he would like to see 10 years as well.

Virginia and CT can promise to keep their CHIP program running only through February, officials said.

Also on Friday, we learned that the price tag for extending CHIP for five years has shrunk dramatically.

"I'm proud to announce that the first piece of legislation I'll co-sponsor will ensure a long-term funding solution for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)", Jones said in a statement Thursday. "They are looking at you and begging for their child's life", he said.

Before Congress acted last month, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress, had projected that Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota and North Carolina would exhaust CHIP funding by December 31.

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In November, the U.S. House passed a bill that Republican leaders said would provide a five-year extension to the CHIP program. "You control the Senate agenda @SenateMajLdr".

Keeping kids healthy should be a top priority, he said. This bipartisan plan would extend CHIP funding until FY 2022, which will ensure low-income families can continue to count on this critical program and it will protect states from having to foot the entire bill. It covers those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford individual insurance. "That's the type of family that we're talking about - people that are out there working and just need a little assistance to get coverage for their children", he said. "I know there are thousands of families in Colorado who don't have that ability".

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have drastically lowered their estimate of what it will take to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) because of 3 factors related to tax law changes affecting the Affordable Care Act at the end of past year that basically make it cheaper to insure children through CHIP than through insurance marketplaces.

Ariel Haughton of Pittsburgh said she's upset her federal lawmakers have left CHIP in flux for her two children and millions of kids around the country. Although it's not a full repeal of the ACA, this may lead to more bipartisan cooperation as health care is addressed.

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