Hickenlooper asks for $9.6M for children's health insurance

22 December, 2017, 02:09 | Author: Lynne Higgins
  • University of Chicago medical students rally for reauthorization

Doctors say they are anxious that more - and sicker - children will show up in emergency rooms if Congress fails to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program.

"We would love to pass 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.

Congress owes it to our kids to swiftly and immediately fully fund CHIP before they head home for the holidays.

At the program's core lay an offer no state could refuse - if it developed a children's health care program, the federal government would reimburse 88 percent of its costs. Congress let the program expire in September, and states are starting to run low on, or run out of, CHIP money. CT cautioned it would stop supporting families after January 31, and Colorado has sent letters to recipients warning that their coverage may be canceled.

Miranda, of Neighborhood Health Center of the Lehigh Valley, says what keeps many families from falling off the financial cliff is the Children's Health Insurance Program.

"I think it will likely be funded but the problem is that this January 1st deadline is looming over us and we're going to have people start losing health insurance very soon".

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Governors in 12 states have written to congress urging renewal, but Governor Rick Scott was not among them even though Florida could run out of dollars within the next 30 days. CMS and the states have been scrambling to shift other funds around to keep the program going.

Kelly Haight, spokeswoman for North Carolina's health department, said the state's 220,000 children receiving assistance under the program "will not experience any interruption in benefits at this time" because the state had enough money for the beginning of 2018.

State officials have verified that funding for Florida's program -- which is operated primarily through the Florida Healthy Kids Corp.

Alabama has one of the more generous eligibility ranges for the program.

The House approved GOP legislation in November extending the health insurance program's federal money for five years. The Senate has not voted, but Democrats there also refuse to tie any CHIP extension to higher Medicare premiums or siphoning money from the public health fund. A family of four making up to $77,982 annually can qualify for the program.

"Connecticut has been able to continue offering HUSKY B ... by using leftover federal funding".

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