CHIP should not be a bargaining chip in Congress

CHIP should not be a bargaining chip in Congress

If Congress does not fully fund CHIP and MassHealth maintained the current program, MA would lose out on an estimated $147.5 million in fiscal 2018 and $295 million annually starting in fiscal 2019, according to the Office of Health and Human Services.

Legislators must act to fund CHIP by the end of January or many states will run out of funding for the program that serves 9 million children.

In a bipartisan appeal on behalf of the National Governors Association, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of MA and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of OR called on Congress - after it allowed CHIP and community health center funding to lapse previous year - to consider the "urgent needs of states and families" by restoring money.

The program ensures low-priced medical coverage for children whose parents earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid. But it's unclear whether CHIP will be resolved by then or at a later point. The House plan includes a controversial provision - opposed by Democrats - that takes millions of dollars from the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund and increases Medicare premiums for some higher-earning beneficiaries.

"If Congress does not fully reauthorize CHIP by [the end of March], Texas would pursue redistribution funding as it did previously with CMS", Williams said.

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"It's nonsensical and it's frustrating and it's ridiculous, honestly", said Brown, vice chair of the National Governors Association Health and Human Services Committee. (It's a five-year funding bill.) But no matter. Orrin Hatch, who heads the Senate's Finance Committee, CBO Director Keith Hall said that a five-year extension of CHIP would cost the government $800 million over a 10-year period.

When Marina Natali's younger son broke his arm ice-skating in 2017, she didn't have to worry about paying for so much as a doctor's visit: CHIP footed all the medical bills. Wyden has always supported extending CHIP for as long as possible, including a permanent extension that would save taxpayers billions of dollars while giving kids long-term health care security.

The American Academy of Pediatrics will hold a conference call Friday to urge Congress to pass long-term funding for CHIP. 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.

The CBO said that if CHIP funding was extended for 10 years it would actually decrease the deficit by $6 billion.

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