Eight New York members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. John Katko, want an important health insurance program for children renewed in a year-end spending bill.
It's federally funded and provides health insurance to children from low-income families, as well as pregnant women.
Congress let the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) lapse September 30, and Republicans and Democrats haven't agreed on how to pay for a five-year extension - even though both sides agree it's needed. "All of these children are our children. However, these funds are expected to run out on January 31, 2018", state officials wrote online. But Alabama health officials say they will likely close the program in the new year if Congress doesn't renew funding.
- The House wants to inject almost $3 billion into the Children's Health Insurance Program to keep it funded through March.
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"I'm very, very concerned that we are going to be in a situation where, over the holidays, we at the department are going to have to send letters to families letting them know that their child is no longer going to have health insurance", she said. "We haven't seen a willingness from state government to invest more". CMS and the states have been scrambling to shift other funds around to keep the program going.
The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Greg Walden of OR, said last week that the CHIP extension will be included in the short-term government funding bill to be considered by lawmakers later this week.
Rep. England said the state of Alabama doesn't have the money to pay for the program alone.
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. While the commonwealth's traditional dedication to providing adequate health care for its citizens ensures that the program will remain a top political priority, harmful cuts will have to be made elsewhere in the state budget to pick up the slack.
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Alabama has one of the more generous eligibility ranges for the program.
The temporary funds would be approved by a continuing resolution bill and the Senate needs to vote on that too. One Democratic aide said top lawmakers of both parties had subsequently quietly agreed to a package of savings.
Michigan's program uses CHIP funding to support several programs, including coverage for certain children on Medicaid and mothers who are undocumented immigrants.
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