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Long-Term Deal for Children's Health Again Eludes Congress

22 December 2017

The news comes as Congress has not restored federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. unding expired September 30. The Affordable Care Act increased the federal share of funding for CHIP by 23 percentage points beginning in 2015, which means a few states now have their entire CHIP programs paid for by the federal government and most are at 88 percent.

Citing Congress' failure to renew funding for the program, Alabama health officials have begun steps to freeze and possibly close the program known as ALL Kids early next year. "What GOP completely ignores: Extending #CHIP - health care for our children". An immediate, long-term extension of funding for CHIP must be passed now.

The commonwealth's CHIP program will be lucky to last until March if federal lawmakers don't act soon. Our funds are now being shared with states like Arizona and Utah, where funding has already run out and where families are receiving mailed notices letting them know their children may lose health coverage.

"We're just hoping Congress does the right thing and doesn't put politics in front of people's health, in front of children's health, in front of pregnant women's health", said Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, a Democrat.

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Governors in 12 states have written to congress urging renewal, but Governor Rick Scott was not among them even though Florida could run out of dollars within the next 30 days.

This is now considered the longest lapse in funding in the program's history.

Federal taxpayers paid about $16 billion for the program previous year, with states adding a smaller share, according to government figures.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress say they support the program, but they have not agreed on where to get the money to pay for it. The 17,000 youths in CT would have to find another - more expensive - way to find health insurance if the program vaporizes. A family of four making up to $77,982 annually can qualify for the program.

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For 20 years, the program worked swimmingly - eventually covering 95 percent of the nation's children, or 8.4 million, including 172,000 beneficiaries in MA.

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

Instead, the short-term bill includes $2.9 billion for states to use for children's health plus authority for federal officials to continue distributing unspent program money to states running short.

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Long-Term Deal for Children's Health Again Eludes Congress