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A Fight For Children’s Health Insurance

Republicans pushed a new bill that will extend financing for CHIP, a popular health insurance program for children through a House committee Wednesday, but there is division between the two parties over how to pay for it suggest that congressional approval.

Last week, Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, ended after Congress allowed the program to expire without renewal. CHIP, which provides low-cost health care coverage to millions of children (and pregnant parents) around the country, has long enjoyed bipartisan support.

The president’s 2018 budget proposal suggested cutting $1.7 trillion from CHIP and other vital programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

With Congress held up with ACA repeal efforts and the president uninterested in actively pursuing CHIP renewal, the program’s renewal date came and went, with no plan in place.

Now, both parties are working to reinstate funding for CHIP.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said he wants the children’s health measure to include federal subsidies to insurers for easing costs for low-earning customers. Some senators are seeking a bipartisan deal on that but many Republicans oppose that effort.

The bill would provide nearly $120 billion over the next five years. Less than half that amount is expected to actually be spent, and lawmakers will have to finance only around $8 billion because of Congress’ budget rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not said when the full Senate would consider the measure. The chamber takes a recess next week and the House takes one the following week, and final congressional action seems unlikely until at least late October if not later.

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