Medicine

Legislators say they are close to CHIP deal

Legislators say they are close to CHIP deal

By now perhaps you've heard that Republicans in Congress are denying health care to poor children, because what else would those robber barons do?

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.

You may recall the news from a few days ago that extending the Children's Health Insurance Program would cost only $0.8 billion, which should make it very easy to pass.

Today's delay in long-term funding has forced states around the country to rely on leftover money and emergency government grants to maintain coverage for millions of their residents.

Beth Kidder, a deputy secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration, told legislators that the short-term fix is expected to keep Florida's program running through the end of March.




This program plays a critical role in our nation's health care by covering children who fall into a coverage gap - their families make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but they also can not afford private health insurance. The CHIP benefits allow him to continue his work as a civil rights attorney, providing free representation for people with disabilities.

Some states will reach the bottom of their CHIP funding before March, according to an analysis published Wednesday by Kaiser, which said that before the funding extension 18 states estimated they would run out of money by the end of January. 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. The House plan includes a controversial funding 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. His committee has jurisdiction over the health program's budget. And since the Republican tax bill makes Obamacare more and more expensive over time, it makes CHIP more and more cost-effective over time.

Essentially, killing the mandate dramatically raises premiums in Obamacare's individual market, which is where millions of low-income families now enrolled in CHIP would have to turn were the program to disappear.

And CHIP is just one piece of federal health assistance programs aimed at at-risk families and children who need a long-term funding solution.

Extending CHIP for 10 years would save a total of $6 billion, CBO staffers said. "I have every reason to believe it's going to happen before Friday". 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.