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

13 January 2018, 02:11 | Winifred Adams

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

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley

After passing a lavish tax cut for corporations and wealthy families, Congress hastily left town in December without reauthorizing the federal-state health-insurance program, which benefits almost 9 million children.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for the program's renewal on Twitter last month.

Virginia and CT can promise to keep their CHIP program running only through February, officials said.

"I think the fact that we are watching and sort of seeing what's happening up in Washington, D.C. with the CHIP program and the funding makes this task force even more important", Duran said.

So far, the debate has centered on a five-year extension of CHIP's budget.

The News Journal is looking to speak with families who are dependent on CHIP for their child's health care. The CBO estimated the five-year extension Congress is considering now costs only $800 million, down from $8.3 billion, after Republicans repealed the individual mandate in their tax bill.

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"Families across America had to start 2018 anxious that their kids wouldn't have health care", she tweeted.

Keeping kids healthy should be a top priority, he said. Failing to act now shows the true face of Republicans & their donor-driven immoral agenda. The sudden turnaround for the program's prospects - as states entered panic mode and made contingency plans to close their programs - came from a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Montoya wasn't surprised to receive his letter, but it left him with "kind of a hopeless feeling". He has seen couples divorce just to qualify for Medicaid coverage, something he fears will happen if the Children's Health Insurance Program is axed. The CHIP benefits allow him to continue his work as a civil rights attorney, providing free representation for people with disabilities.

Governors have urged lawmakers to pass long-term legislation. But federal officials miscalculated.

Williams said in her e-mail that the $135 million now won't be immediately needed because of the December spending bill.

"We really have to hope Congress acts on it, because it's too big a hole for the state to have pick up, " said Flores, chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Almost 1.7 million out of the 9 million children served by CHIP each year could lose healthcare coverage by the end of February if Congress fails to pass legislation to reauthorize the program, according to a new report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. "It feels to me like, if Congress really cared, they would address children's health care".



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