Weeks after the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) lapsed, the House voted to reauthorize the legislation. Yet after the matter devolved into a partisan fight, the bill is not expected to pass the Senate. Congress will now likely wait until the end of the year to reauthorize the program, which covers about 9 million low-income children and pregnant women.
The vote was nearly along party lines, and while both Republicans and Democrats appear to want to reauthorize CHIP, they can’t agree on how to pay for it. Democrats say that the GOP’s plan will be detrimental for seniors:
According to Democrats, the problem with the bill, which would extend CHIP for five years and reauthorize community health centers and other public health programs for two years, is that it would pay for children’s health insurance by taking money from a preventive care fund. The GOP bill would also use new Medicare means-testing to partially pay for CHIP. As Republicans repeatedly pointed out on the House floor Friday, Democrats were voting to protect seniors making $40,000 a month from paying about $135 more.
Further, multiple House Republican factions couldn’t agree where to the find offsets that would fund the bill, which nearly torpedoed its chances of passing. While the delay needs to be addressed, most states currently have enough money left over to fund CHIP into 2018. Yet given the current Congress’ track record of passing meaningful legislation, there’s no guarantee the program will return.
(Via Huffington Post)