When the CHIPs Are Down

Good morning,
Your reminder that CHIP, the federal program that insures 9 million children in low-income families, expired on September 30 and still hasn’t been reauthorized. (The last reauthorization of CHIP was introduced by a Tea Party Republican and passed with 392 votes in the House and 92 in the Senate.) By various reports, at least 11 states home to roughly a quarter of American children will be flat out of funds to keep their CHIP programs running by the end of the calendar year, and they will likely have to issue cancellation notices to parents of children in the program. (32 of 41 states that have reported their likely insolvency dates will be out of money by this upcoming March.)
Under current law, if these cancellations occur and parents then take the step of adding their children to their employers’ insurance plans, those children immediately become ineligible to return to CHIP.
A House bill to reauthorize, which passed the House largely along party lines, funds the program through billions in funding cuts for the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund and a reduction in the grace period for people who miss premium payments on ACA exchange plans.
A bipartisan Senate bill to reauthorize (the KIDS Act), which has not made it out of committee, funds the program with fewer strings attached. The CBO projected cost for five more years of CHIP is $14.9 billion, which is a smaller figure than the estate tax bill for any of the 13 richest individual Americans. (The CBO also estimates $6.7 billion in revenue increases from this version of the reauthorization.)
The Senate is entirely off this week, and there are only 15 more legislative days on the calendar before they adjourn for the year on December 15.
Are you not personally affected by the tax bill being considered? (With a few exceptions, if you said no, you’re probably wrong.) But either way, do you think that children having healthcare is good?
The members of the Senate Finance Committee, the committee that currently has both the Senate and the House bills, are as follows (senators from states that reportedly may be out of CHIP money by the end of the year denoted by an asterisk, and senators co-sponsoring the Senate bill denoted by a carat):
Michael Bennet (D-Colorado)^
Tom Carper (D-Delaware)
Bill Nelson (D-Florida)^
Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia)^
Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)*
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)^
Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)
Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana)
Ben Cardin (D-Maryland)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)^
Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri)
Dean Heller (R-Nevada)*^
Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)^
Richard Burr (R-North Carolina)
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)*^
Rob Portman (R-Ohio)*
Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)*^
Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania)*^
Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania, also Chair of the Subcommittee on Health Care)*
Tim Scott (R-South Carolina)
John Thune (R-South Dakota)
John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)*^
Mark Warner (D-Virginia)
Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)
Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming)
Children can’t vote, but you do.
Make the calls.

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