Katko, NY reps urge House leaders to renew children's health insurance program

Katko, NY reps urge House leaders to renew children's health insurance program

House Republicans have included $2.85 billion to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in a stopgap spending measure meant to prevent a government shutdown on Saturday. Thirty-one states are in jeopardy of seeing the funding vanish sooner than expected, according to the report. Congress let the program expire in September, and states are starting to run low on, or run out of, CHIP money.

"This action highlights Congress' continued inability and failure to prioritize and protect the health of children and a very popular and successful program". But congressional leaders set that aside to pass the big tax bill, which includes corporate and estate tax cuts. Prior political fighting over CHIP funding back in 2004 led to long-lasting damage to the program, and we can expect the same or worse this time.

I can not imagine the hardships the concerned parents are going through thinking about their Children's health situation and not knowing, if the program would continue.

Top Washington lawmakers maintain the CHIP program money will be restored as part of a spending bill once the tax measure is out of the way, but Tennessee Democrats mince no words about why it's taken so long.

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The program, which matches state funding, helps insure children of parents with modest incomes, but who do not qualify for Medicaid. CMS and the states have been scrambling to shift other funds around to keep the program going.

Mallory McManus, a spokeswoman for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, said the state was "closely monitoring" to see if Congress will restore the money. Families just hoping to continue to have coverage for their families into the new year. She said her organization has been "unable" to get answers from Florida about its plans, but she said the blame still belongs on Congress for failing to act. CHIP covers dental and eye care, prescription drugs, mental health care and pre-existing conditions.

For 20 years, the program worked swimmingly - eventually covering 95 percent of the nation's children, or 8.4 million, including 172,000 beneficiaries in MA. The 17,000 youths in CT would have to find another - more expensive - way to find health insurance if the program vaporizes. The Senate has not voted, but Democrats there also refuse to tie any CHIP extension to higher Medicare premiums or siphoning money from the public health fund.

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