CHIP funding expected to pass next week

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley

Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families (CCF) predicted in a report this month that 11 states would run out of CHIP funding before the end of February if Congress doesn't approve a long-term solution.

Child health-care advocates have long complained that the KidCare program is not user-friendly because of the number of agencies involved, including the Department of Children and Families, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. For months now, negotiations in Congress have stalled over how to pay for the program that covers 9 million low- and middle-income children. "I have said from day one that my first priority when I arrived in Washington would be to protect the 150,000 Alabama children - and the nine million more across the nation - who depend on CHIP for their healthcare".

Rep. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee, asked bill sponsor Nicholas Duran, D-Miami, if the group's progress would be hindered if Congress doesn't fund the CHIP program.

Congress in December authorized a $2.85 billion short-term fix that is expected to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program until March for many states.

The Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement to extend the program for five years but did not unite around a plan on funding. When CHIP expired at the end of fiscal year 2017, there was just under $3 billion in this fund.

Walker, head of Delaware Health and Social Services, said she is in "complete disappointment and disgust" with how Congress has handled the re-authorization of CHIP.

"If the funding is not provided by the federal government, families who receive CHIP will begin to get rift letters and discouraging enrollments", Heflin explained. That bill passed 242-174 largely on party lines as Democrats objected to funding offsets, including "cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, Medicare means testing for wealthier seniors, changes to Medicaid third party liability and changes to the grace period for Affordable Care Act plans", according to Boston Children's Hospital.

When Marina Natali's younger son broke his arm ice-skating previous year, she did not have to worry about paying: CHIP footed all of his medical bills. Many can not afford coverage in the private market. About 394,000 Texas children ineligible for Medicaid are covered under CHIP, and another 249,000 Texan children on Medicaid benefit from CHIP's 92 percent matching rate.

"If CHIP coverage disappears, we run the risk of kids going without care or emergency room visits going up", he said.

"These families don't know if the rug is being pulled out from them at any time", he said.

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

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