Health care providers urge Congress to reauthorize CHIP funding

Health care providers urge Congress to reauthorize CHIP funding

Ronald Pratt
January 14, 2018

By now perhaps you've heard that Republicans in Congress are denying health care to poor children, because what else would those robber barons do?

He has seen couples divorce just to qualify for Medicaid coverage, something he fears will happen if the Children's Health Insurance Program is axed.

That's true even though the Children's Health Insurance Program technically expired on September 30 after Congress failed to renew funding.

Funding for ARKids is set to run out in March if Congress doesn't reauthorize the program before then. That makes extending CHIP cheaper, from the government's point of view. Any spending bill that Congress takes up must include long-term funding for CHIP.

"Americans are exhausted of waiting on their government to do the right thing - lives are depending on it. Let's end this waiting game and #FundCHIPNow", U.S. Sen.

Federal funding for CHIP originally expired October 1.

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The House passed a bill in November extending CHIP for five more years, but the Senate has yet to do so.

Meanwhile, a House health-care committee gave the nod to a bill (HB 293), which would create a 12-member KidCare Operational Efficiency and Health Care Improvement Workgroup. That policy is expected to make the premiums in the Obamacare marketplaces more expensive - which means the federal government would have to spend more money subsidizing those premiums for low- and middle-income enrollees.

On Dec. 28, Congressman Joe Kennedy sent out a fundraising email heralding the recent birth of his son, and contrasting his family's happiness with the "panic and fear" that others were experiencing amid uncertainty over CHIP funding.

About 1.7 million children in 20 states and the District of Columbia could be at risk of losing their CHIP coverage in February because of the funding shortfall, according to a report released Wednesday by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Essentially, killing the mandate dramatically raises premiums in Obamacare's individual market, which is where millions of low-income families now enrolled in CHIP would have to turn were the program to disappear.

Also on Friday, we learned that the price tag for extending CHIP for five years has shrunk dramatically. As it happens, that estimate only included seven years of funding, for reasons I couldn't quite figure out. Most states can not afford to make up the difference and will have to freeze enrollment or terminate coverage when their federal funding runs out.