Hatch Bill To Renew CHIP Funding Passes Senate Committee

Health insurance program for thousands of Arizona kids at risk

What happened next was that Republicans chose to take one last shot at killing ObamaCare with the Cassidy-Graham health-care bill just as CHIP's funding deadline loomed, and the Senate simply didn't have the attention for anything else.

As of September 30, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is not approved to run as its spending authorization has expired, the first time in more than ten years. Because they care more about themselves than our children, and our country's future.

While some states will run out of program for the funding by the end of 2017, Dan Sullivan with Enroll Virginia said the commonwealth has enough money on reserve to last a few more months. Much of Congress' health-funding attention had been focused on the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

CHIP money also covers about 7,000 kids in Montana on Medicaid, in families earning up to 143 percent of the federal poverty level, or $35,000 a year for a family of four. Since becoming law in 1997, the percentage of uninsured Americans under 18 fell from 14 percent to a 4.8 percent low in 2015.

Members of Congress had introduced a bill late this summer to extend CHIP funding for another five years, but it failed to pass by a Saturday deadline. Both the House and the Senate have proposed similar legislation that would renew funding for the program for 5 years.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows Americans want Congress to reauthorize funding programs like CHIP and stabilize health insurance markets.

Unfortunately, the CHIP reauthorization process is getting more, not less, complicated. But the reality is that other children are likely to lose insurance altogether.

That's still several months away, and the CHIP program has tended to have broad bipartisan support in Congress. Others have said they will soon run out of money for it.

But even with the state no longer having to provide a match, some Arizona legislators still opposed the program.

CHIP allotted $25.5 billion in coverage nationwide from 2015 to 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, insuring children who do not qualify for Medicaid but in families that can not afford private insurance.

"Reductions in CHIP coverage will result in coverage losses for children and negative effects on children's health and family finances".

The biggest hurdle in the House is finding a way to pay for its $6 billion bill. That may not be true in every state - Minnesota officials report that their funding situation is already dire, and they aren't alone - and there's no reason for confidence that Congress will actually get its act together in time. "But in the meantime", she said, "It's more pressure on families who may rely on CHIP coverage and pressure on clinics who don't know whether they'll be reimbursed for a visit or not". Van Ramshorst said that 70 to 80 percent of UHS' patient population receives either Medicaid or CHIP funding.

Montana could keep CHIP operating until February before funds are exhausted, but other states could be in trouble starting in November. Even rank-and-file Republicans were unsure of why, a GOP Congressional aide told the Tribune. On the House side, a package that funds CHIP, as well as extend funding for community health centers, which also expired, will be marked up later in the day.



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