Democrats rip ‘highly partisan’ bill to fund children’s insurance

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Nearly 100 House Democrats are urging congressional leaders to pass a bipartisan extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

In a letter sent Friday, 99 House Democrats urged leaders of the House and Senate to reject the House-passed CHIP extension and instead work on a bipartisan solution.

The letter dismissed the House effort as a “highly partisan bill” that “seeks to provide healthcare for some at the expense of others, undermining CHIP’s mission.”

Federal funding for CHIP expired in September. The Democrats said they want Congress to pass a five-year extension without any partisan funding offsets.

The House bill would charge higher premiums to wealthier Medicare beneficiaries, cut money from ObamaCare’s public health fund and shorten the grace period for ObamaCare enrollees who fail to make premium payments.

According to an analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, between 259,000 and 688,000 people could lose their insurance as a result of the shortened grace period.

“This bill weakens coverage for too many Americans,” the House Democrats wrote. “There is broad, bipartisan agreement on a policy to extend CHIP for five years, but neither chamber of Congress has yet scheduled a vote to do so without also including policies that would undermine care for millions of Americans.”

The Senate Finance Committee passed a five-year CHIP extension bill, but committee leaders have not publicly discussed offsets. The legislation has not yet come up for a vote, and it will likely be included in the next government spending bill.

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