The bill extends CHIP funding for five years: funded by higher premiums to wealthier Medicare beneficiaries, cutting money from ACA’s public health fund and shortening the grace period for ACA enrollees who fail to make premium payments.
The Hill reports today that the bill would extend CHIP for five years and was combined with a separate bill that extends funding for community health centers for two years. It also provides $1 billion over two years to help bolster Medicaid in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The bill passed 242-174, over Democratic objections. It now heads to the Senate, where it is unlikely to get a floor vote, leaving lawmakers at an impasse. The Senate Finance Committee passed its own version of the legislation, but has yet to agree on offsets to fund it.
The Hill quotes objections by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.):
This Republican bill offers a false choice. In one hand it strips health care away from upwards of 680-thousand Americans and guts the Prevention Fund … and then in the other hand it reauthorizes these important programs.
Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate have agreed to provide money for the child health program for five years and for community health centers — another popular program — for two years. They have also agreed to delay cuts in federal payments to hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of uninsured and Medicaid patients.
But the question of how to pay for these measures, a cost of roughly $23 billion, has made further progress uncertain, reports Robert Pear in The New York Times.
The last three presidents, Mr. Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were ardent supporters of community health centers. But funds for that program were allowed to expire last month.
Dr. Neil S. Calman, the president and chief executive of the Institute for Family Health, which operates 31 community health centers in New York, said the uncertainty over federal funding “affects every decision” he makes. The New York Times quotes him:
I just don’t understand why the parties can’t get together to figure out how to provide the money for a program they both support.
Read more about the squabbles that leave states uncertain of the future of their children in The New York Times