Senate panel approves CHIP funding reauthorization

  • Senate panel approves CHIP funding reauthorization

Senate panel approves CHIP funding reauthorization

A measure, supported by both Republican Senator Cory Gardner and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, advanced in the Finance Committee Wednesday.

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy last week, after the collapse of their Graham-Cassidy health care bill, the GOP's latest attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The bill also would give $1 billion in extra Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico. Grassley (R-Iowa), who has tried for years to advance legislation targeting rising prescription drug costs to little avail, is pushing two bills as potential offsets for CHIP funding. Unless action is taken soon cuts will begin to be made.

No states are expected to immediately run out of funds for the program, which provides health insurance for 8.9 million children.

Health insurance for thousands of children in CT could soon disappear. It enjoys bipartisan support, though it's not clear how Democrats and Republicans in Congress will compromise on future CHIP funding.

CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide. Four states are projected to exhaust their CHIP funds much sooner — between now and December 31. About 19,000 children are in the state's CHIP program, state officials say. The nonprofit clinics serve mostly Medi-Cal and homeless patients and the uninsured, including those in the USA illegally.

A Senate and a House committee were scheduled to discuss bills today to continue CHIP funding.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said he was encouraged by passage of a bill by a Senate committee on Wednesday, but added "we must move faster". The program also covers pregnant women.

Most states have said they have enough leftover funding to carry them through early next year.

Several states have drawn up contingency plans that involve capping enrollment and possibly taking steps to shut down their programs should funding not come through in time.

In a statement, the state Department of Social Services said if Congress does not extend CHIP funding, the state has enough money to continue the program only into January or February of next year.

The federal government bears most of the program's cost, with states paying the rest. They include everything from increased federal aid to hospitals to steps meant to rein in runaway insurance premiums. The House wants to use money from some of those cuts to fund the CHIP extension. However, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that only about $49 billion is actually needed, according to the Associated Press.

"Oregon is in a better position than numerous other states that use because we have a state-level program-the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, which is run by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services-with funding to do our own marketing, outreach, and consumer assistance", Cronen told The Lund Report in an email.