Breaking News
February 23, 2018 - Tobacco Kills, No Matter How It’s Smoked: Study
February 23, 2018 - Q&A: Avindra Nath, MD | Medpage Today
February 23, 2018 - Adherence to sleep apnea treatment affects risk of hospital readmission
February 23, 2018 - Zika virus could be alternative for treatment of aggressive brain cancer
February 23, 2018 - Carbon monoxide enhances efficacy of antibiotic against stomach infection
February 23, 2018 - MSD and Ferring Pharmaceuticals Complete Largest Ever Clinical Trial in Postpartum Haemorrhage
February 23, 2018 - Postnova AF2000 system offers reliable characterization of trace metal colloid distribution in the environment
February 23, 2018 - Pioneering study may pave way for effective painkillers to treat neuropathic pain
February 23, 2018 - Research opens up new avenue to minimize risks of transplants
February 22, 2018 - Cabozantinib Active in Advanced Thyroid Cancer
February 22, 2018 - Polluted air may pollute our morality
February 22, 2018 - New data from VOYAGE 2 trial shows promising results for Janssen’s guselkumab treatment
February 22, 2018 - Bank loans signed in the hospital leave patients vulnerable
February 22, 2018 - Researchers identify new nanostructure inside sperm tails
February 22, 2018 - Catheter-based procedure increases treatment options for mitral valve disease
February 22, 2018 - Sage Therapeutics Receives FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for SAGE-217 for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder
February 22, 2018 - Larger Endocarditis Vegetations More Likely to Embolize, Kill
February 22, 2018 - Parenting behavior in adoptive families
February 22, 2018 - Researchers discover new weakness in sleeping sickness parasites
February 22, 2018 - Research project aims to find new ways to identify and treat most aggressive brain cancers
February 22, 2018 - Researchers explore how people with Alzheimer’s disease use end-of-life medical services
February 22, 2018 - Stroke survivors and carers feel marginalized due to lack of support from primary care
February 22, 2018 - Neuroscientists discover novel mechanism of action behind schizophrenia
February 22, 2018 - After shooting, ‘honor how kids want to deal with their feelings’
February 22, 2018 - U.S., EU and Japan Health Authorities Accept Regulatory Submissions For Review Of Pfizer’s Third-generation ALK Inhibitor Lorlatinib
February 22, 2018 - At-Home Genetic Test Might Change Medicine
February 22, 2018 - Many second hand plastic toys could pose a risk to children’s health, study suggests
February 22, 2018 - Study shows that two different brain systems cooperate during learning
February 22, 2018 - Liquefied brain tissue after stroke may harm surviving brain, UA study finds
February 22, 2018 - New intervention improves communication behaviors in couples affected by dementia
February 22, 2018 - Clinical trial shows safety of promising TSRI stroke drug
February 22, 2018 - Researchers discover new interaction mechanism of unstructured proteins
February 22, 2018 - A Patient’s Journey: Can I Kill the Glucose Monster?
February 22, 2018 - The Problem That Piles Up
February 22, 2018 - Kids can roll up their sleeves—again—for mumps protection
February 22, 2018 - Scientists find significant amounts of toxic metals in e-cigarette vapors
February 22, 2018 - 3D Signatures reports positive results of new Telo-HL test for Hodgkin’s lymphoma
February 22, 2018 - Scientists reveal development of improved medicine to fight addiction
February 22, 2018 - USC-led researchers release dataset of brain scans from stroke patients
February 22, 2018 - Antibiotic-producing bacterium releases more metabolites than assumed
February 22, 2018 - Flu Season Shows First Signs of Slowing
February 22, 2018 - Nonstick Chemicals May Disrupt Metabolic Function in Women
February 22, 2018 - Calcium may play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease
February 22, 2018 - Scientists visualize insulin receptor activation for the first time
February 22, 2018 - UC San Diego Health now offers new treatment option for people with refractory epilepsy
February 22, 2018 - First African child vaccinated with new typhoid conjugate vaccine
February 22, 2018 - BetterYou named as ‘Most Innovative Brand’ at FGB Awards 2018
February 22, 2018 - Assaults Among Young People Fall to Lowest Rate in 15 Years
February 22, 2018 - What do you know about Parkinson’s disease?
February 22, 2018 - Researchers discover five new genetic changes that may increase pancreatic cancer risk
February 22, 2018 - Gout medication may help improve heart function in adult patients
February 22, 2018 - Bioactive compound limits collateral damage in the kidneys after heart attack
February 22, 2018 - Study reveals HCT as effective treatment for NHL patients regardless of age
February 22, 2018 - Father’s age can affect offspring lifespan, mice study shows
February 22, 2018 - Opiant Pharmaceuticals Announces Publication of New Pre-Clinical Data Supporting Potential of OPNT005 as a Heroin Vaccine
February 22, 2018 - Make the Diagnosis: Strange Rash Surfaces
February 22, 2018 - Isolated sulfite oxidase deficiency – Genetics Home Reference
February 22, 2018 - Scientists identify weight loss ripple effect
February 22, 2018 - Smoking at record lows in New York
February 22, 2018 - Scientists pinpoint fertility hormone that could support early pregnancy
February 22, 2018 - Aggressive cancer stem cells can now be isolated successfully in a scientific breakthrough
February 22, 2018 - Researchers find high risk of suicide among unaccompanied refugee minors
February 22, 2018 - Protein levels linked to posture and gait problems in Parkinson’s
February 22, 2018 - Biomedical engineers create 3D hydrogel scaffolds  to transform cells into muscle
February 22, 2018 - Study employs novel approach to uncover new biomarker for CHD
February 22, 2018 - Study finds strong connection between midwifery and birth outcomes
February 22, 2018 - Verastem Submits NDA to FDA for Duvelisib for the Treatment of Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma
February 22, 2018 - Low BP Associated With Risk in HFpEF
February 22, 2018 - More U.S. women obese before pregnancy, experts sound the alarm
February 22, 2018 - Study aims to examine effects of PTSD symptoms in police officers
February 22, 2018 - Study reveals increased disease risk after early heart surgery
February 22, 2018 - Women with Type 1 diabetes come across unique challenges
February 22, 2018 - Researchers target abnormal epigenetic mechanisms involved in childhood cancers
February 22, 2018 - Wine polyphenols may be good for oral health
February 22, 2018 - Moderate and severe exacerbations associated with decline in physical activity of COPD patients
February 22, 2018 - FDA Approves Osmolex ER (amantadine) for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Reactions
February 22, 2018 - Morning Break: NSCLC Approval; School Nurses; ‘Human-Sheep Hybrids’?
February 22, 2018 - Penn study sheds new light on immune cell identity
February 22, 2018 - From a novel support group to a book, learning from seven widowed fathers
February 22, 2018 - Researcher makes breakthrough discovery in process of fear relapse
States — and 9m kids — ‘in a bind’ as Congress dawdles on CHIP funding

States — and 9m kids — ‘in a bind’ as Congress dawdles on CHIP funding

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Last week, Colorado became the first state to notify families that children who receive health insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program are in danger of losing their coverage.

Nearly 9 million children are insured through CHIP, which covers mostly working-class families. The program has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, but Congress let federal funding for CHIP expire in September.

The National Governors Association weighed in Wednesday, urging Congress to reauthorize the program this year because states are starting to run out of money.

In Virginia, Linda Nablo, an official with the Department of Medical Assistance Services, is drafting a letter for parents of the 66,000 Virginia children enrolled in CHIP.

“We’ve never had to do this before,” she said. “How do you write the very best letter saying, ‘Your child might lose coverage, but it’s not certain yet. But in the meantime, these are some things you need to think about’?”

Children may be able to enroll in Medicaid, get added to a family plan on the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange or be put on an employer health plan. But the options vary by state and could turn out to be very expensive.

If Congress reauthorizes CHIP funding, states are in the clear. But they can’t bank on it yet, and states have to prepare to shut down if the funding doesn’t come through. Virginia would have to do so on Jan. 31.

“We’re essentially doing everything we would need to shut down the program at the end of January,” Nablo said. “We’ve got a work group going with all the different components of this agency, and there are many.”

For example, they will need to reprogram their enrollment systems, inform pediatricians and hospitals, and train staff to deal with an onslaught of confused families.

Joan Alker, who runs the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said most states need to give families 30 days’ notice.

“But [state officials] are hearing rumors that Congress might get this done in the next couple of weeks, and they don’t want to scare families,” she said. “States are really in a bind here. It’s very tough to know what to do.”

Colorado was the first to send out a notice, and other states are close behind. There are a handful that are starting to run out of money in December, Alker said, such as Oregon, Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

The exact deadline for when CHIP funding runs out in each state is tricky to calculate, because the amount of money each has depends on how fast a state spends it — and how much stopgap help the federal government gives them.

Some states are getting creative. Oregon just announced it will spend state money to keep CHIP running, said Alker, “and they’re assuming that Congress will pass it and they’re get reimbursed retroactively. That’s what they’re hoping.”

Texas is set to run out of CHIP funds a lot sooner than was expected just a few months ago. And there’s a big reason for that: Hurricane Harvey, said Laura Guerra-Cardus with the Children’s Defense Fund in Austin.

“Natural disasters are often a way that individuals that never had to rely on programs like Medicaid and CHIP need them for the first time,” she said.

Guerra-Cardus said that after Harvey a lot of new families enrolled in CHIP and that there was also a higher demand for services. “When there is such a traumatic event, health care needs also rise. There’s been a lot of post-traumatic stress in children,” she said.

And to help those families out, Texas officials also waived fees they usually have to pay to join CHIP. So, lately there’s been less money coming in and more money going out. Like Virginia, without reauthorization, Texas would have to shutter CHIP by the end of January.

For Amy Ellis in Alpine, Texas, that’s something she’s dreading. “Losing a lot of sleep,” she said. “Still losing a lot of sleep.”

Ellis has an 8-year-old daughter who has been on CHIP since she was born. The girl has asthma and allergies, Ellis said, and health insurance is really important because her family doesn’t make a lot of money. Her daughter’s allergy medicine is expensive.

Ellis lives in rural West Texas, nearly four hours southeast of El Paso and “three hours from the closest city,” she said.

The isolation means that Ellis doesn’t have many options other than CHIP, she said. One would be enrolling her daughter in the insurance plan she and her husband have through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, but Ellis said that would be expensive.

“It would cost $300 to $400 a month for us to add her to our plan, which would be a huge chunk of our income,” she said. “That’s our grocery money and our gas money.”

A lot of families in Texas could find themselves in the same situation if Congress doesn’t act soon, said Guerra-Cardus. “Kids with chronic or special health care needs, this is going to turn their lives absolutely upside down.”

Roughly 450,000 children are covered by CHIP in Texas. Officials say they are asking the federal government to give them money that will keep CHIP alive through February.

But because officials must give families 30 days’ notice if the program will end, families in Texas could get letters right around Christmas that say their children are losing their health insurance.

This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, local member stations and Kaiser Health News. Selena Simmons-Duffin is a producer at NPR’s All Things Considered, currently on an exchange with Washington, D.C. member station WAMU.


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles