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Will Congress Renew Federal Health Insurance for Children?

by Vanessa Jones on March 19, 2015 at 2:16 PM
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Will Congress Renew Federal Health Insurance for Children?

The Congress would most probably vote to renew the federal funding for a children's health insurance (CHIP); almost 90% children in New York are covered under health care.

Legislation to renew funding for CHIP for two more years would probably be packaged with must-pass legislation to prevent a drastic reduction in Medicare payments to physicians beginning April 1. The 'doc fix' legislation had won repeated short-term extensions. Lawmakers would now try to agree on a long-term fix before the vote was held. Renewal of a special Medicare program would be continued.


Lawmakers hoped to vote on the package by March 27, before the House and Senate adjourned for two weeks.

"Since CHIP was started in 1997, the number of uninsured children in New York has been greatly reduced," said Senator Chuck Schumer. "Families earning up to $95,400 were eligible for the CHIP program which charged a very basic premium for coverage."

If the state lost its $34 million in monthly federal CHIP funding, premiums could increase by $50 to $400 a month. "That would be unaffordable for the low- to moderate-income families participating," Schumer said. Each one is a family fighting tooth and nail to make ends meet, and they found a way to insure their child. And the value of that is hard to understate because the key to a promising future for a young child starts with his or her health. Many families across New York found that affordable coverage programs sponsored by the federal and state government were like a lifeline."

New York, like other states, had requested that the Congress continue supporting CHIP; it's administered at the state level. They felt by not supporting the program would mean acute shortfalls resulting in disruptions for health care providers and problems for families who depended on the program to care for their children.

The program had a history of bipartisan support. In 2009, Congress expanded eligibility for 4 million children, mostly by increasing tobacco taxes. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 reauthorized the program through 2019, but funding would end fiscal year.

Source: Brian Tumulty

Source: Medindia


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