Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

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

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

CBO has now estimated its cost assuming that it's reauthorized for a full ten years.

Before Congress acted last month, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress, had projected that Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota and North Carolina would exhaust CHIP funding by December 31.

The House passed a bill in November extending CHIP for five more years, but the Senate has yet to do so.

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families analyzed Children's Health Insurance Programs across the country and found that 1.7 million children in 21 of the 24 states facing shortages are at risk of losing coverage by the end of February if additional funding is not approved.

Under CHIP, the uninsured rate among children across the country has dropped from 15 percent in 1997 to 5 percent in 2015. The program that covers 8 million low-income children became a political football in inter-party negotiations over immigration and spending caps. The higher those premiums go, the more the government has to pay in subsidies. "The good news is you can do six years and it costs you nothing". He said: "They are looking at you and begging for their child's life". But if CHIP comes back, the parent is the only one to remain on the policy, facing a cost for the coverage.

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The news that renewing CHIP is now a net cost-saver, Fiedler emphasized, "isn't really a silver lining of the repeal of the individual mandate".

Navsaria also worries that many parents will be surprised if their children are suddenly without coverage.

California enjoys a $19 billion surplus this year. After bitter partisan wrangling over how to pay for the authorization has held CHIP hostage for months.

Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician, said families are reacting with "fear and disbelief" to CHIP's uncertain future. For Ohio's vulnerable children, that's an upside of sorts, since the program will continue even if CHIP money runs out. "We can show our commitment to increasing access to treatment by reauthorizing the National Health Service Corps program, that expired in September".

Though a short-term measure will keep it going until March, a doctor that spoke with FOX19 NOW says if action isn't taken soon families in the Tri-State will be impacted.

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