The Reporter Two-Way: CHIP funding

Long-term deal for children's health again eludes Congress

With the future of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) still uncertain, Erie families who depend on the insurance coverage wonder what to do next. Should Congress not pull through, however, state organizations are also taking action to ensure children in the state aren't left without coverage.

According to a new analysis by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, half of all state CHIP programs will have to shut down by the end of next month.

Some states that are almost out of money are preparing to freeze enrollment or cancel CHIP coverage if lawmakers don't soon reach a deal.

But in a letter to recipients sent earlier this month, the state notified them that the money will dry up and the program will end January 31 without a move by Congress. CMS and the states have been scrambling to shift other funds around to keep the program going. CMS officials did not respond to requests made 18 December about when those dollars would run out. Watchers are hoping a deal could come Friday, when the body has to pass something to keep the government operating.

"CHIP is one that we can not play games with", Lawrence said at a news conference of the Democratic Women's Working Group at the U.S Capitol.

"If you issue the notice and say "your child's coverage may end on this date".

As Christmas approaches many families in Idaho who rely on the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for affordable, comprehensive healthcare for their children are worrying about whether that coverage will continue in 2018. No family should go through the holiday season worrying about how to pay for their child's health care or be forced to make choices about whether or not to see the doctor or go without the medication they need. Alabama has one of the broadest eligibility levels - 317 percent of the poverty level, or $78,000 for a family of four.

Forecasters call for snow leading into Christmas weekend
Latest models suggest December 25 could be rather chilly and showery in addition to the growing chances of snow. By contrast, the mountain resort of Davos, at 1,600m, has a white Christmas almost all the time.

If CHIP is not renewed, an emergency move will place them on Medicaid, straining Idahos budget and putting funding for education and other state priorities at risk. He said the pay-fors were reasonable, including the proposal to increase income-based Medicare premiums.

"Our phones are ringing off the wall", Caldwell said. Federal money pays for nearly 90 percent of that.

The temporary funds would be approved by a continuing resolution bill and the Senate needs to vote on that too.

Jim Carnes, policy director of ARISE Citizens' Policy Project, an Alabama advocacy group, says CHIP is one of the few areas of health policy in which Alabama has led the country.

He says freezing enrollment and ending coverage would undo years of expanded coverage. It is ironic, in fact hypocritical, that anti-abortion Republicans would not rush to renew a program that safeguards the health of a fetus.

"Once we deny kids and disenroll kids, we know so many of them won't be able to get back on", she says. It has been slightly modified to reflect Spectrum's style.

This story originally appeared on Kaiser Health News.

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