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The Republican Threat To Children

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Unlike Trump, most Senate Republicans have made it clear that the child molester Roy Moore is not welcome in Washington. That political courage deserves appreciation. Unfortunately, there is a group of children they and House Republicans are putting in jeopardy. I posted about this in the September Crisis thread. Nothing has changed. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is critical to the medical care of millions of children, many of whom have significant health costs. When the legislation expired, it appeared that most states could make it to the first of the year before they ran out of money. Given the Congressional calendar, that time is at hand. Clearly, Republicans are far more concerned about the tax cut for their donors than the health of children, but reauthorizing CHIP is a no-brainer that would quickly and easily pass if only the leadership would introduce the legislation.



Since its inception in 1997, CHIP has had strong bipartisan support and been a measurable success, covering nearly 9 million children nationwide. It helped lower the nation’s percentage of uninsured children from almost 14 percent when it started to about 4.5 percent in 2015. But this year, amid efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress allowed the deadline to reauthorize the program to come and go. Almost two whole months have passed since and there is growing concern that no action will come until the end of the year.


Families and state agencies have been forced to scramble amidst the uncertainty. Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, and North Carolina are expected to run out of CHIP funding next month according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). Another 27 states are anticipated to have their funds exhausted by March 2018


Congress Created a Health-Care Crisis for Kids Right in Time for the Holidays


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The incompetence, or is it indifference, is astonishing. For two decades CHIP has been a bipartisan cause. Now, suddenly, THIS Republican-controlled Congress has turned its back on what should be a simple task--renewing the Children's Health Insurance Program. The existing authorization expired on September 30. It's not as if there hasn't been time and opportunity to act. What is wrong with these people? Have they lost that last ounce of compassion? Have tax cuts for the rich become so overwhelming that a Republican Congress can't be bothered with sick kids who are about to lose, what is for many, life-saving health care? 


According to the article below, five states will run out of funds by the end of December. This was known in September. Given the generous vacations our legislators give themselves, there are only a few legislative days remaining in which to act.



Officials in nearly a dozen states are preparing to notify families that a crucial health insurance program for low-income children is running out of money for the first time since its creation two decades ago, putting coverage for many at risk by the end of the year.


Congress missed a Sept. 30 deadline to extend funding for CHIP, as the Children’s Health Insurance Program is known. Nearly 9 million youngsters and 370,000 pregnant women nationwide receive care because of it.


Many states have enough money to keep their individual programs afloat for at least a few months, but five could run out in late December if lawmakers do not act. Others will start to exhaust resources the following month.


The looming crunch, which comes despite CHIP’s enduring popularity and bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, has dismayed children’s health advocates.


“We are very concerned, and the reason is that Congress hasn’t shown a strong ability to get stuff done,” said Bruce Lesley, president of Washington-based First Focus, a child and family advocacy organization. “And the administration is completely out, has not even uttered a syllable on the issue. How this gets resolved is really unclear, and states are beginning to hit deadlines.”


States prepare to shut down children’s health programs if Congress doesn’t act



Even I knew about this in September and even posted about it. Not one Republican Congressman has an excuse for this horrible failure of public responsibility. They need to act as soon as Congress reconvenes.

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The Roanoke Times is reporting that letters have been sent to 68,000 families warning that CHIP funds are in doubt and services will end on Jan. 31. That's what the Republican focus on tax cuts for the rich is doing. Children, a percentage for whom this is a life or death matter, are at risk for no reason. The callous indecency of this should be thrown in the face of every Republican. 



Virginia's Medicaid program is mailing letters to more than 68,000 families today, warning them that their children's health insurance might end on Jan. 31, as Congress has continuously failed to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, since September.


The state uses CHIP funds to pay for FAMIS, or Family Access to Medical Insurance Security. That program not only covers thousands of low-income children, according to the most recently available figures, but over 1,100 pregnant women as well.


"For 20 years CHIP has had the strong support of Congress and has been renewed many times," the letters being sent to families today reads. "We are hopeful that Congress will once again provide the funding to continue this program. However, because Congress has not acted yet, we need to let you know that there is a chance the FAMIS programs may have to shut down."


Virginia warns 68,000 families their children might lose health coverage Jan. 31


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Virginia is one of 16 states, including California, Texas and Florida, that will run out of money for CHIP during January unless Congress acts the Kaiser Foundation reports. That is of minor importance, however, when compared to cutting the top tax rate for billionaires. Some of these kids have life threatening medical conditions that would immediately bankrupt their parents without the protections of CHIP, but wealthy Republican donors must be served first. It's not as if this could not have been passed easily and quickly since before its expiration in September. But, no, Republicans couldn't be bothered to take just a little time to renew this critical health care program that would pass overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.


There is no more heinous example of politicians serving themselves before serving the American people. Republicans across the nation should be ashamed of this even more than the candidacy of child molester Roy Moore.


State Plans for CHIP as Federal CHIP Funds Run Out




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Why would CHIP even be needed under Obamacare?  Doesn't Obamacare subsidize or give free healthcare to poor families?  Why does his program even exist now under Obamacare?

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There is no law called "Obamacare". Its the ACA (Affordable Care Act). Here is the answer to your question. The ACA it not a completely, overtaking healthplan as it relies on states inputs and plans in some facets.


Low-income children get health insurance from a complicated and overlapping web of programs, including CHIP, Medicaid and Obamacare marketplace plans. Each program has different cost sharing and premium requirements, doctor networks and eligibility standards, which can lead to disparities in coverage.


Yet here’s another reality. It turns out that Obamacare didn’t achieve the coverage gains everyone had hoped for. About two-fifths of states didn’t expand their Medicaid programs. Marketplace enrollment has fallen short of projections. About 28 million Americans remain uncovered.

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There is no longer any excuse for not renewing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Why? Read the Axios headline:

Funding CHIP would save the government money, CBO says



Imagine that. After giving away a trillion and a half dollars to big donors, there is actually a way Republicans can do something just and compassionate for a change and it will actually save the government money...and they still can't get it done. How pathetic is that!


Funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program just keeps getting cheaper. The Congressional Budget Office originally said a five-year extension would cost $8.2 billion over a decade, then lowered the cost to $800 million. Today, CBO said a longer, 10-year extension would ultimately save taxpayers money — about $6 billion over a decade.


Why it matters: Congress’ failure to extend federal CHIP funding is not the result of a fight over CHIP, but rather a fight over how to offset the costs of extending CHIP. Now, though, there are potentially no costs to offset. That ought to make this much easier for Congress to (finally) accomplish.



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How it works: Funding CHIP does cost money, obviously. So how does it work out into a net savings? It's because covering kids through CHIP is cheaper than the alternatives, CBO says.


If kids aren't covered by CHIP, they'd likely be covered by some combination of Medicaid, subsidized private insurance through the Affordable Care Act, or parents' employer-based health plans (which the federal government also subsidizes). That would ultimately cost more than simply paying for CHIP, CBO said.

That analysis has changed since Republicans repealed the ACA's individual mandate. Repealing the mandate will likely cause premiums for ACA coverage to rise dramatically, and that's why CHIP coverage is suddenly so much cheaper when compared to private insurance.

Why is a 10-year CHIP extension cheaper than a five-year extension? Because the proposal CBO evaluated would gradually lower the federal government's share of overall CHIP funding, pushing more of those costs to the states over time. The longer the extension, the more it reflects those savings.


WaPo also comments on the CBO report.


Now there is really, truly no excuse for Congress to let health insurance for 9 million low-income kids collapse.


More than 100 days after the Children’s Health Insurance Program expired, the reason behind why lawmakers haven’t reauthorized it — disagreements over financing — has crumbled. The wonky new reality is that reauthorizing CHIP saves money instead of costing money, per a new projection this week from the Congressional Budget Office.


You heard that right. Lawmakers no longer have to pay for reauthorizing CHIP, as long as they expand the time frame in which they extend it from five years to seven or more. This means it would be shocking — truly shocking — if Congress still didn’t provide the popular bipartisan program with the financial certainty states need to maintain coverage for kids who need it.


...The CBO estimates that reauthorizing CHIP for a decade would save $6 billion.



The Health 202: Members of Congress no longer have any excuse not to reauthorize CHIP



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