jh-siesta.com January 21, 2018

Congress stumbles again on CHIP funding

21 December 2017, 12:58 | Annette Crawford

Congress stumbles again on CHIP funding

Congress stumbles again on CHIP funding

So, while no one here will lose coverage - unless the delay lasts for months longer, which appears unlikely - Congress' inaction still carries a cost to Minnesota. Colorado could run out of funding as soon as January, but Deti says Wyoming has enough money to operate until April.

On Thursday, Governor Wolf signed a bill re-affirming the state's commitment to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). "From the citizen perspective, they're not losing coverage and we're doing everything we can to maintain their coverage as long as possible". CHIP was created 20 years ago to address the high number of uninsured low-income children. However, because of the way it uses its share of CHIP funding, Minnesota has not been hit as hard (more on that in a bit).

Meanwhile, several states, including Pennsylvania, are on the verge of running out of funding for this vital program.

Lawmakers had said they hoped to pass a five-year CHIP funding extension before they adjourned for the year.

The program, enacted in 1997, has enjoyed bipartisan support.

Without congressional reauthorization, Alabama's CHIP program will end one month later on February 1, according to the state's notification to parents.

CHIP provides free or low-priced health insurance options for children in families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but do not have access to health coverage through other means. "As I have said throughout my campaign and again on election night, it's time for our leaders to do what's right and extend funding for the nine million children who receive coverage from CHIP". But in many states, the result has been that CHIP kids end up at the mercy of their state's bureaucratic decisions.

CHIP provides healthcare aid to 9 million Americans; state officials fear that a lapse of CHIP would be detrimental to recipients. Now, thanks to extra money from CHIP and the Affordable Care Act, Minnesota is only paying 12 percent of the health coverage costs for 125,000 children.

OR is among five states and the District of Columbia that likely will be among the first to run out of funding for CHIP.

As we said in an October 5 editorial, "CHIP has been a rock on which struggling families could depend since it was created in 1997 during the administration of President Bill Clinton".

Lawmakers came through with the money, in order to avoid having to send out Christmas notifications to almost half a million children that they would be losing their health care.

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