Clinton: Congress playing 'roulette' with children's health funding

Clinton: Congress playing 'roulette' with children's health funding
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE says Congress is playing "roulette" over extending funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

"This is the first time where we're really playing roulette with these kids and their families," Clinton said Thursday at a health-care symposium in Pennsylvania. 

“Because states are going to start shutting down these programs because they don’t have a funding stream.”

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As first lady, Clinton was a champion of CHIP when it first made its way through Congress during former President Bill Clinton’s first term in office.

Funding for the program, which covers 9 million children, technically expired at the end of September, but the first states aren't expected to run out of funding until the end of the year. 

Reauthorizing CHIP is usually a bipartisan affair, but the House approved a partisan, five-year extension of the program last week.

Democrats oppose how Republicans want to pay for the program — such as charging wealthy Medicare beneficiaries more and gutting ObamaCare’s public health fund. 

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate Finance Committee has passed a bipartisan five-year reauthorization of CHIP, but hasn’t yet determined how to pay for it. It’s unclear if the upper chamber will take up the House bill.

In Washington, most expect that CHIP will be funded before Congress breaks for the winter holidays. The funding could be included in a year-end spending bill, but a vote could also occur sooner.

Republicans in the Senate blame the delay on Democrats, saying they are holding up President Trump's judicial nominations and forcing the chamber to burn up legislative time.

Clinton on Thursday also hit Trump over his handling of the opioid crisis. He recently declared it a public health emergency, but that move doesn't come with additional federal funding. 

“It’s disappointing to me that the new administration has only given rhetorical support,” she said.

“There’s no plan, there’s no new money, there’s no leadership. So communities and health systems are pretty much left on their own.”