GOP chairman: CHIP must be attached to next funding bill

Gwen Vasquez
December 14, 2017

Eight-year-old Abigail Gabriel, center, hugs her mother, Erin, from her wheelchair as Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Teresa Miller, talks about the Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP, during a news conference, December 7, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

"I applaud the Pennsylvania General Assembly for voting to reauthorize Pennsylvania's CHIP program but in order to provide benefits to the more than 175,000 children enrolled, Congress must take action immediately". The program provides health insurance to children and pregnant women from low-income families that make just enough to be above the cut-off for Medicaid.

According to the Associated Press, several states running out of CHIP funds will now be able to access existing, unused federal dollars under the stopgap measure. They've accused Republicans of trying to use health insurance program as a bargaining chip in year-end spending negotiations.

According to DPHHS Spokesperson Jon Ebelt, Montana has enough unspent federal funding to continue the CHIP program through January 31.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined 11 other governors from both parties Tuesday to plead with Congress to keep health coverage for almost 220,000 Ohio children and millions more across the country.

"It needs to go on the CR", Walden told reporters. She's anxious her young children's health insurance coverage will soon lapse.

Principals on both sides acknowledge they'll be a resolution to CHIP in upcoming weeks. Hatch staffers, Matheson said, were attentive and promised to deliver the message to the Washington, D.C. office.

"We would hope this is an easy one to do", said Wietecha.

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Hatch is now reportedly working with Sen. Through PeachCare, it covers roughly about 130,000 children in Georgia.

So, when the parents and children now being served by CHIP experience the pain of being denied these services, should they not be taught the moral (or is it the mortal) lesson of self-sufficiency?

The senior GOP lawmaker has cast the bipartisan effort to extend health coverage for vulnerable children as a "moral responsibility". It seems like it's becoming a pawn in the greater tax reform bill.

If the bill is not passed by the end of the year, the Utah Department of Health is prepared to send letters to CHIP families warning them coverage may soon end, department spokesman Tom Hudachko said.

He says some states are preparing for money they get to insure children to run out completely.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said reauthorizing CHIP funding has become political and that's bad news for kids.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Greg Walden (R-OR) called his Democratic colleagues "ironic and cynical" and lamented that "It is a tragedy this is not a bipartisan bill, as it always has been".

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