Health Care

Legislators say they are close to CHIP deal

Legislators say they are close to CHIP deal”

After funding expired September 30, Congress in December authorized a short-term patch of $2.85 billion for the program through March, though it's unclear how long those funds will last. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that revised the cost estimate for a five-year funding extension down to $800 million.

The news, first, comes less than a month after Texas Health and Human Services Commission officials announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was giving the state $135 million to continue the program through February. CBO says the alternatives are more expensive: "the federal costs of the alternatives to providing coverage through CHIP (primarily Medicaid, subsidized coverage in the marketplaces, and employment-based insurance) are larger than the costs of providing coverage through CHIP during that period".

Last month's congressional funding Band-Aid to keep the federal government in business included $2.85 billion in stopgap money for the Children's Health Insurance Program. CBO has now estimated its cost assuming that it's reauthorized for a full ten years.

In December, Congress passed short-term funding for the program - injecting it with $3 billion through March 2018.

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If that accident happened later this year, though, Natali, 50, of Aliquippa, Pa., might be scrambling.

Keeping kids healthy should be a top priority, he said.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a Madison, Wis., pediatrician and vice president of the state's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said many parents and doctors have been told for months that Congress would firm up long-term funding for CHIP, but those promises have been dashed. These low-income families need assurance CHIP payments will be there in the future.

"While the balance in the redistribution pool may be sufficient to cover February shortfalls enabling all states to cover children through February, it has become increasingly hard to predict how long funds will last for any particular state", the center concluded (PDF). Every Child Matters, a non-partisan non-profit, urged the public to call on their elected representatives to "act immediately on a 5-year CHIP reauthorization". The group practice hasn't changed any scheduling for CHIP patients, but he said "families are terrified" about the program having to be terminated.

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

If Pennsylvania cancels CHIP, she likely won't bring Javier, 2, for his two-year checkup unless there's something clearly wrong with him.

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

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