Coverage for millions of kids is in jeopardy.
The Trump administration said on Friday that Congress’s short-term fix to keep a health insurance program that covers nine million American children running through March could start to run out in just two weeks.
Congress has been courting disaster with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, failing to extend funding when it ran out in September. States have begged them to act, and Congress approved a package in December to help states keep running their programs through March. But the program could be in trouble again much sooner.
“We appreciate that Congress included funding for CHIP in the continuing resolution that runs through January 19, 2018,” Johnathan Monroe, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement. “However… we are unable to say with certainty whether there is enough funding for every state to continue its CHIP program through March 31, 2018.”
Based on the administration’s estimates, the short-term CHIP money should be enough to fund all states through January 19 or possibly the end of the month.
States have already been forced to send letters to families warning that their insurance could expire without congressional action. So far, a catastrophe has been avoided through emergency measures taken by states and CMS, but they are running out of options. This short-term patch that Congress passed didn’t move the needle by much.
Republicans and Democrats want the program to be extended. Lawmakers in both parties in the Senate and the House hope to extend CHIP for five years. There are disputes between the parties are over how to pay for the program, but even that problem has shrunk: The Congressional Budget Office has estimated, after Republicans repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in the tax bill, funding CHIP for Read More Here