Fed extension gives Mass. CHIP funding through March

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley

CHIP funding will run dry in several states by the end of January

While members of Congress on both sides of the aisle insist that CHIP must be reauthorized, GOP leaders have yet to even schedule a vote, and the program has been stuck in limbo for months amid disagreements about how to pay for it.

Jones became the 24 co-sponsor of the bill, the Keep Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017.

"These studies consistently show that CHIP has improved access to and affordability of care for kids", Jenny Kenney at the Urban Institute said.

CHIP provides insurance for almost 9 million low-income children across the nation.

CHIP's authorization for federal funding expired September 30, 2017.

In Ohio, covering the 200,000 children enrolled in CHIP costs about $45 million a month - a cost Ohio funds via Medicaid.

Before the latest cash infusion, several states sent letters to parents warning that the program was in jeopardy absent congressional action. "It is long past time to renew CHIP and I'm proud to join my colleagues who are fighting for the children who depend on it".

Before Christmas, Congress allocated $2.85 billion to the program, saying that the money would take care of the children's needs until the end of March. But after Congress approved a short-term spending plan on December 21, ALL Kids withdrew those warnings for the time being.

However, funding for CHIP expired more than three months ago, and Congress has yet to approve long-term funding. It's unclear why the pay-fors would stay in play now that the program extension saves the government money, but there is disagreement over funding CHIP for six years instead of 10 years.

"At this point it would just be CHIP".

Funding CHIP is cheaper than moving the covered children to other coverage options, including Medicaid and through subsidized plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplace, according to the CBO. (It's a five-year funding bill.) But no matter. But federal officials miscalculated. Many can not afford coverage in the private market.

Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician, said families are reacting with "fear and disbelief" to CHIP's uncertain future.

"If CHIP coverage disappears, we run the risk of kids going without care or emergency room visits going up", he said. The group practice hasn't changed any scheduling for CHIP patients, but he said "families are terrified" about the coverage disappearing. I have long supported the CHIP program. "They might not have a family physician, or a clear support system". "We will have to decide between their health and spending the money on something else", she said. "They seem so cavalier about it", she said. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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