House Dem calls for bipartisan talks to fund children’s health care

House Dem calls for bipartisan talks to fund children’s health care
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The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s top Democrat is calling for renewed negotiations on a bill to fund children’s health care and other programs after the panel approved a partisan measure Wednesday.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) expressed concern in a statement Thursday that “Republicans’ actions in Committee make it more difficult to come to a bipartisan agreement and will further delay reauthorization of [the Children’s Health Insurance Program], Community Health Centers and other important public health laws.”

Funding for both expired at the end of September, though states have enough money to run their children’s health programs until at least December. Yet, advocates argue the uncertainty is a major challenge for states, as they've already crafted their budgets and might need to warn consumers that their children could lose coverage.  

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Funding for CHIP and community health centers is traditionally a bipartisan affair, Pallone noted, adding “that should not be any different this year.”

Democrats are concerned with how Republicans want to pay for the bill, such as cutting an ObamaCare fund and increasing how much wealthy Medicare beneficiaries pay.

A committee spokesperson called the pay-fors in the bill “reasonable,” writing in an email that Republicans are open to ideas from Democrats to reach an agreement “but Congress must move forward quickly [so] children and critical public health programs do not suffer.”

On the Senate side, the Finance Committee passed a bipartisan five-year reauthorization of CHIP on Wednesday, though the panel hasn’t yet released how it would pay for the measure.

In a controversial move Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Finance: White House planning new tax cut proposal this summer | Schumer wants Congress to block reported ZTE deal | Tech scrambles to comply with new data rules OPEC and Russia may raise oil output under pressure from Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP centrists in striking distance of immigration vote MORE (D-N.Y.) said a bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets that Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Abortion rights group plans M campaign to flip the House Senate health committee to hold hearing on Trump drug pricing plan Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump to sign 'right to try' drug bill next week Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump official won't OK lifetime limits on Medicaid Dems warn against changes to federal family planning program MORE (D-Wash.) are working to craft should be attached to the CHIP bill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump now says Korea summit could still happen June 12 The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — The art of walking away from the deal Overnight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs MORE (R-Utah) had harsh words for the idea.

“We should not jeopardize vulnerable children’s health insurance coverage by turning the bill into a Christmas tree and adding controversial policies like bailing out insurance companies,” Hatch said in a statement.