Congress should renew CHIP soon

Elias Hubbard
October 12, 2017

NY will have to convene a special legislative session to address a almost $1 billion shortfall if Congress doesn't quickly renew funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the state's health department said Wednesday. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) have released a draft of bipartisan legislative language to extend CHIP for five years.

CHIP is the latest, um, chip Cuomo is putting on the table for a possible special session after warning that lawmakers may be recalled to address the distribution of federal funds for indigent health services and to add additional money to a flood relief program.

CHIP serves an estimated 8.9 million youngsters whose parents have moderate incomes (up to double the poverty level nationally or quadruple in NY - $82,000 a year for a family of three), but not low enough to qualify for Medicaid coverage. "And for that last push that they made at the end of September, they gave up the opportunity to expand this program for children and pregnant women".

CHIP was created with strong bipartisan support in 1997, when one in seven children in the US were uninsured, according to the Census Bureau.

Together with Medicaid, CHIP has helped bring children's coverage rates to a historic high of over 95 percent as of 2016, an increase from 92.9 percent in 2013-the year before the ACA was fully implemented.

Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday warned that inaction by Congress has jeopardized health care for 350,000 kids in NY - including almost 132,000 in the city. CHIP provides health insurance to 9 million American children.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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