New York warns HHS over children's health care funding delay

New York warns HHS over children's health care funding delay
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New York will have to convene a special legislative session to address a nearly $1 billion shortfall if Congress doesn’t quickly renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the state’s health department said Wednesday.

In a letter to Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan, the state’s health commissioner warned about the consequences if CHIP funding is not renewed “in the next few weeks.”

“[I]t is unlikely the Legislature can fill a $1 billion hole left by the federal government to continue to provide coverage to all the children currently enrolled in CHIP,” the letter said. “The inaction of Congress and the Administration has jeopardized the health care of millions of the nation’s children, 350,000 of whom live in New York.”

Funding for CHIP expired Sept. 30, but most states have some leeway and won’t exhaust their money right away. Three states and the District of Columbia will run out by the end of the year.

However, the longer Congress waits, the quicker that funding will run out.

The House and Senate have both passed CHIP funding bills through committees, but partisan divisions over how to pay for the program’s extension in the House have caused delays. The Senate has yet to even discuss offsets.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Monday he would delay floor consideration of the bill passed by the committee last week "in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement on offsets."

The bill last week passed with no support from Democrats, who complained that the bill took money from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to offset the costs of the program.