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 SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) said a bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets that Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderCongress needs to wake up to nuclear security threat Blackburn keeps Tennessee seat in GOP hands  Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Judge urges insurers to drop challenge over non-ObamaCare plans | Azar vows to push ahead with drug pricing proposal | No increase for ObamaCare outreach budget MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — FDA restricts sales of flavored e-cigs | Proposes ban on menthol in tobacco | Left wants vote on single-payer bill in new Congress | More than 12k lost Medicaid in Arkansas Schumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader Senate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle MORE (D-Wash.) are working to craft should be attached to the CHIP bill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchUtah New Members 2019 Congress braces for high-drama lame duck Trump to award Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth, Elvis, Scalia, Hatch 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.