Health care providers urge Congress to reauthorize CHIP funding

13 January, 2018, 02:10 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
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Jones became the 24 co-sponsor of the bill, the Keep Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017.

But Matthew Fiedler, an economist at Brookings' Center for Health Policy, told TPM that this not much of a cause for celebration, as part of the reason for the new, lower cost of CHIP is the expectation that many more parents around the country will go uninsured. Funding for CHIP, which usually garners bipartisan support, has been in limbo since its federal funds ran out on September 30. "It is long past time to renew CHIP and I'm proud to join my colleagues who are fighting for the children who depend on it". In December, Congress provided $2.85 billion to temporarily fund the program.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have said they are close to approving a long-term funding deal for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which could come as soon as next week, according to The Hill. Keep in mind that the cost of just a five-year extension of funding, roughly $800 million, is less than 1 percent of all of the money the Republican-controlled Congress and the president gave away, primarily, to corporations and wealthy Americans through recently approved tax cuts.

Congress is now looking into ways to pay for the program, which costs the federal government about $14.5 billion each year.

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Housed in the Department of Health, the group would focus on issues such as increasing efficiencies in the KidCare program. That makes extending CHIP cheaper, from the government's point of view. CBO says the alternatives are more expensive: "the federal costs of the alternatives to providing coverage through CHIP (primarily Medicaid, subsidized coverage in the marketplaces, and employment-based insurance) are larger than the costs of providing coverage through CHIP during that period".

Alabama and Utah are among several states unsure how long their federal CHIP funding will last, according to interviews with state officials.

When Marina Natali's younger son broke his arm ice-skating a year ago, she did not have to worry about paying: CHIP footed all of his medical bills. Some states could see their financial resources run dry for children's health insurance coverage by the end of this month. She can't afford private coverage for her two children on her dental hygienist pay.

Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician, said families are reacting with "fear and disbelief" to CHIP's uncertain future.

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There is bipartisan support for CHIP in Delaware. "They might not have a family physician, or a clear support system".

Families across America had to start 2018 anxious that their kids wouldn't have health care.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said she's frustrated with Congress for not making the bill a priority.

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