The GOP has a problem with paying for kids’ basic care

Rebekah Entralgo

Rebekah Entralgo Reporter, ThinkProgress

Fifty-six days after Congress failed to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), some American children are at risk of losing their health insurance. The deadline to renew the program’s funding was Sept. 30, and Congress hasn’t granted the program $15 billion to continue.

As a result, the popular state-level insurance program for low-income children and pregnant women is facing a funding cliff. While some states may be able to keep the program going through some of next year, half a dozen are projected to run out of funding by late December or early January.

It takes time to make program changes and alert families they’ll be left in the lurch, so states are starting to take action now. States closest to the funding cliff are preparing to warn customers that funding might disappear, leaving kids in the lurch. There are a few options for those families who rely on CHIP once the funding disappears.

States decide if those families could be enrolled in Medicaid or covered through Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace offerings. But Republicans — Trump in the executive and members of his party in Congress and at the state level — have tried hard block access to both of those alternatives, by sabotaging Obamacare, eliminating support for enrollment, blocking Medicaid expansion, etc.

The program has historically enjoyed bipartisan support, but Republicans, in control of both chambers of Congress and steering a massive tax bill through a lightning-fast approval process, are now unable to the program the funds it needs to survive.

Presumably, this isn’t a question of means: At the center of both House and Senate Republicans’ tax bills is a giant, unnecessary tax cut for corporations: a 20 percent corporate tax cut at a price tag of nearly $1.5 trillion dollars. The Senate has decided one way its bill will raise enough money to fund this is by repealing the ACA’s individual mandate provision, a move that would leave nearly 13 million Americans uninsured.

Trump’s tax proposal would sharply reduce the federal government’s ability to match state funds (the ACA expanded matching) and would cut billions from CHIP’s funding.

“I am working with my colleagues to advance this bill in a fiscally responsible manner so we can ensure coverage is maintained,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in a recent statement. Hatch sits on the Senate Finance Committee and was among the primary authors of both the tax legislation and the original CHIP legislation.

During a heated exchange with Sen. Sherrod Brown over the facts of the GOP tax plan, Brown highlighted that it doesn’t include any funding for CHIP, and any tax plan that truly wasn’t geared towards wealthy individuals would include that funding.

Hatch replied sharply, “I’m not starting with CHIP.”


Reposted from Think Progress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.


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Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon