Cleveland Plain Dealer: Restore long-term funding for children's health programs

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Restore long-term funding for children's health programs

When funding for CHIP is reduced under current law, some parents would try to keep coverage for their children and enroll them in a family policy through the marketplaces.

Local health care providers are urging Congress to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program before the end of next month.

You may recall the news from a few days ago that extending the Children's Health Insurance Program would cost only $0.8 billion, which should make it very easy to pass. In December, Congress provided $2.85 billion to temporarily fund the program.

An analysis by Georgetown University, however, has predicted that some states including Florida could run out of money sooner.

Under CHIP, the uninsured rate among children across the country has dropped from 15 percent in 1997 to 5 percent in 2015. But the program is in danger of becoming a casualty of Republican brinkmanship in Washington.

"I don't want to be jumping for joy, but as a result of this very bad policy, CBO now says that CHIP will cost significantly less - and that over a decade, it will produce a net savings", Pallone says.

Republicans and Democrats want the program to be extended.

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Trying to manage a community health center when our funding is in jeopardy and the programs that support our low-income patients are at risk is challenging, to say the least. Democrats balked at those demands, given that Republicans did not bother to offset the loss of revenue from their boondoggle tax cuts.

The Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated that it would cost the federal government $800 million to extend the CHIP program for another five years. The budget office updated its estimates after the adoption of the tax law. "So it's just more reason for the federal government to take care of what should have been a slam-dunk re-authorization".

CHIP's authorization for federal funding expired September 30, 2017. She can not afford private coverage for her two children on her dental hygienist pay. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), suggest that switching to a permanent or 10-year extension may side-step the debate about how to pay for the program altogether.

Treatment plans for serious diseases can span months, leaving some doctors, like Patel, to jury-rig solutions in case CHIP falls through.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a Madison, Wis., pediatrician and vice president of the state's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, worries that many parents will be surprised if their children are suddenly without coverage.

"It's nonsensical and it's frustrating and it's ridiculous, honestly", said Brown, vice chair of the National Governors Association Health and Human Services Committee.

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