Florida's Children's Health Insurance Program faces uncertainty

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Florida's Children's Health Insurance Program faces uncertainty

You may recall the news from a few days ago that extending the Children's Health Insurance Program would cost only $0.8 billion, which should make it very easy to pass.

A top Republican state senator is warning that Florida will not able to keep a major children's health-insurance program running if Congress doesn't authorize additional money in the near future.

"I just can't believe we're in this situation of stop and start of what we need to do if we don't receive additional funds from CMS to continue the CHIP program here in DE".

CHIP expired September 30, threatening coverage for millions of recipients who would likely otherwise be uninsured.

Meanwhile, the almost $3 billion for CHIP that Congress passed in December could run out in just a few weeks.

The Congressional Budget Office recently revised their estimate on the cost of long-term funding for CHIP, saying it would take $800 million to finance the program for five years instead of the previously estimated $8 billion.

"This is going to be a serious blow to individual families, but also to health providers who are providing services for their children and just for the general welfare of the communities", he said.

Some states will reach the bottom of their CHIP funding before March, according to an analysis published Wednesday by Kaiser, which said that before the funding extension 18 states estimated they would run out of money by the end of January. By March 1, the CCF says that at least 1.7 million people could lose coverage.

On Dec. 28, Congressman Joe Kennedy sent out a fundraising email heralding the recent birth of his son, and contrasting his family's happiness with the "panic and fear" that others were experiencing amid uncertainty over CHIP funding. Wyden has always supported extending CHIP for as long as possible, including a permanent extension that would save taxpayers billions of dollars while giving kids long-term health care security.

Treatment plans for serious diseases can span months, leaving some doctors, like Patel, to jury-rig solutions in case CHIP falls through.

Dr. Joanne Hilden, a pediatric cancer physician in Aurora, Colo., and past president of the American Society of Hematology-Oncology, said cancer patients who are anxious their CHIP funding will run out can't schedule care ahead of time.

A 2014 report by Health Affairs comparing Medicaid and CHIP coverage to employer-sponsored insurance, revealed that families enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP fared better in medical bill repayments than families with private insurance (10 percent versus 19 percent).

"The short term patch that lawmakers included in an end-of-year funding deal only provides momentary relief", the organization wrote.

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