Legislators say they are close to CHIP deal

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Federal funding for children's health care, which was running on fumes last month, got a jolt of congressional cash in late 2017 that should last through March in the Bay State, according to the Baker administration. It cost $15 billion in 2016, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Congress added $2.85 billion to give a boost to the program, but those funds might have certain states hanging in the only until January 19, said a statement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

In a bipartisan appeal on behalf of the National Governors Association, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of MA and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of OR called on Congress - after it allowed CHIP and community health center funding to lapse a year ago - to consider the "urgent needs of states and families" by restoring money.

Since a September deadline passed without CHIP reauthorization by Congress, funding in MA has included a combination of fiscal 2017 carry-over funds and "redistribution funding" from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the Baker administration. In December, Congress passed a $2.85 billion "patch", meant to provide supplemental cash to the program as Congress continues to weigh plans for long-term funding.

"Americans are exhausted of waiting on their government to do the right thing - lives are depending on it. Let's end this waiting game and #FundCHIPNow", U.S. Sen.

The CBO's original cost estimate for a five-year extension was $8.2 billion, but the revised estimate said it would only cost $800 million. The bill was not taken up by the U.S. Senate. The group practice hasn't changed any scheduling for CHIP patients, but he said "families are terrified" about the program having to be terminated.

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"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.

A few states, including Louisiana and Colorado, plan to use state funds to make up for the lack of federal funding.

Thousands of IN children from lower-income families could lose access to affordable health care. "Meanwhile, Colorado and CT families received letters informing them that their children may soon lose CHIP coverage". Funding for CHIP, which usually garners bipartisan support, has been in limbo since its federal funds ran out on September 30.

In theory, this drastic drop in the net cost should make it easier for Congress to reauthorize funding for the program, which has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception in the 1990s. As it happens, that estimate only included seven years of funding, for reasons I couldn't quite figure out.