Texas Receives $136 Million to Fund CHIP Until February

Texas Receives $136 Million to Fund CHIP Until February

As Christmas approaches many families in Idaho who rely on the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for affordable, comprehensive healthcare for their children are worrying about whether that coverage will continue in 2018. It's unacceptable for Republicans to be making any demands about identifying sources for the roughly $14 billion a year spent on CHIP. Then, unless Congress acts, Alabama would close CHIP for all 84,000 children on 1 February.

While both Republicans and Democrats say they support fully funding CHIP, they differ in how to pay for it. Our funds are now being shared with states like Arizona and Utah, where funding has already run out and where families are receiving mailed notices letting them know their children may lose health coverage. Last week, Senator John Cornyn tweeted that funding CHIP is on Congress's radar, simply stating "Congress will pass a long term CHIP bill next week".

State officials could begin sending cancellation notices in January to meet a 60-day notification requirement, said Angela Minicuci, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It now has enough money to keep operating through January. Virginia has also put parents on notice that coverage could end soon.

Congress has yet to renew federal funding for the program, which is called hawk-i in Iowa. She said her organization has been "unable" to get answers from Florida about its plans, but she said the blame still belongs on Congress for failing to act. Alabama has one of the broadest eligibility levels - 317 percent of the poverty level, or $78,000 for a family of four.

Democrats had been hammering Republicans for passing their sweeping tax-cut legislation while CHIP remained in limbo, arguing it would leave millions of families who depend upon the program uncertain over their future at the holidays.

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For 20 years, the program worked swimmingly - eventually covering 95 percent of the nation's children, or 8.4 million, including 172,000 beneficiaries in MA.

Since CHIP's enactment, the share of uninsured children fell from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 4.5 percent in 2015, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

The Senate Finance Committee easily approved its own five-year measure in October, but that bill lacked offsetting savings to pay for the extra money.

But, Udow-Phillips says, "they could do it if they wanted to".

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