Republicans thinking of throwing a few temporary crumbs at kids who need health insurance

Republicans thinking of throwing a few temporary crumbs at kids who need health insurance

There’s a glimmer of temporary hope for the families of 9 million children and pregnant women who get health care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, 65 days after the Republican Congress let it expire. It just might be included in the two-week continuing resolution to fund the government that legislators will consider this week.

The bill, which would fund the government through Dec. 22, would temporarily lift certain spending constraints to allow states to get more money for CHIP from the federal government. […]

Congress let federal funding for CHIP expire on Sept. 30. As a result, a number of states are running low on money for the program and have asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for help.

CMS has been awarding millions in unused money to states in need for the past two months. CHIP is jointly funded by states and the federal government.

A provision in the funding bill would make it easier for states to receive leftover money from CMS. There are restrictions on the amount of unused funds a state can get, but the bill would lift those through Dec. 31.

This is a damned skimpy band aid for the states trying to figure out what to do about their CHIP programs. It’s a federal/state program, with most of the funding coming from the federal government. Without it, many states won’t be able to afford to continue coverage. This few weeks of potential funding is barely better than nothing, because it leaves states with the uncertainty they’ve been grappling for the past two months: will the funding come through in the end or not—and what strings might be attached?

Jam the phone lines of House and Senate Republicans, but make the first call to Hatch. Call (202) 224-3121, and tell him to stop holding kids hostage and to pass a clean funding bill for CHIP and community health centers.

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