April 22, 2018

Congress Let A Health Insurance Program Expire That Covers 9M Kids

05 October 2017, 12:19 | Rufus Hill

The program provides coverage for children of families who do not qualify for Medicaid health coverage for the poor

The program provides coverage for children of families who do not qualify for Medicaid health coverage for the poor

The Congressional Budget Office assumes that if the program ended, some children would become uninsured, but the federal government would help provide coverage for others, through Medicaid or through private insurance subsidized under the Affordable Care Act.

Federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health coverage for nearly nine million children, ran out on Saturday night. The reauthorization included increased funding and a number of provisions to improve enrollment, quality of care and data collection.

State health officials said the state, which is already facing likely spending cuts to address a budget crisis, would have to come up with $96 million a year to make up for a loss of federal CHIP funds. HHS estimates that as many as 2,800 health center locations could close their doors, imperiling access to care for more than 9 million patients if the funds are not reauthorized.

Chip is funded by state and the federal government. The rate dropped from 14.8 percent to 6.2 percent in 2016, an all-time low.

The Washington Post noted late Monday that the Senate's bill, which is going through the Finance Committee has avoided for now the "sticky issue of how to pay for" two years of extra CHIP funding.

"Obviously, we want to give our members 30 days' notice prior to any program change", Capriotti said. It ran out on September 30. It helps states support children whose parents are not eligible for Medicaid, but can not afford insurance for their children.

State officials are among those pressing Congress to re-up funding for the program. The Kaiser Family Foundation said last month that it surveyed states and that 10 replied they would run out of funding by the end of the year.

But even with the state no longer having to provide a match, some Arizona legislators still opposed the program.

In the letter, sent to the Children's Health Coverage Coalition, Young said her agency has coordinated with other organizations such as the National Association for Medical Doctors and the National Academy for State Health Policy to support CHIP nationally.

In the interim, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reportedly have enough unspent dollars from the fiscal year just ending to hold KidsCare through this month and into November, she said. Mississippi's Division of Medicaid, which administers the program in the state, said Congress should quickly authorize the funding.

About $165 million in CHIP funding was spent on Medicaid recipients previous year; $198 million was spent on children in All Kids, according to the Medicaid office. This despite what seemed to be openings to support of a bipartisan effort from the White House and Republican leadership in the Senate.

However, Department of Human Services spokeswoman Kait Gillis said in an email that CHIP will be able to continue without disruption in Pennsylvania until February 2018. "But in the meantime", she said, "It's more pressure on families who may rely on CHIP coverage and pressure on clinics who don't know whether they'll be reimbursed for a visit or not".

Brent Wilborn, director of public policy at the Oklahoma Primary Care Association, said most community health centers have enough funding to continue operating through the end of December, but uncertainty about their budgets could make it hard to plan.

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