KHN Morning Briefing

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CHIP Funding Measure Passes Through Committees, But It’s Not Smooth Sailing Ahead For Bill

The provisions Republicans want to add to reauthorize funds for the Children's Health Insurance Program rankle Democrats, which might mean a bitter fight over of the popular program. Meanwhile, states are bracing for the worst.

The New York Times: Bill To Rescue Children’s Health Program Hits Snag In House
Legislation to rescue the Children’s Health Insurance Program sailed through a Senate committee on Wednesday, but touched off a partisan conflict in the House, diminishing hopes that the popular program would be quickly refinanced. Funding for the program expired on Sunday, and state officials said they would soon start notifying families that children could lose coverage if Congress did not provide additional money. It was impossible to say when Congress might pass a bill and send it to President Trump. (Pear, 10/4)

The Associated Press: Parties Fight Over Funding Children's Health Insurance
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the measure on a party-line 28-23 vote. The program covers 8.9 million low-income children, and a renewal of funds for it seems virtually inevitable. But four days after the program's federal funding expired, the bill's problems were underscored as Democrats opposed GOP plans for financing the extension and a related community health center bill. The GOP cuts include trimming a public health fund established under former President Barack Obama's health care law and making it harder for people buying individual health coverage to avoid paying premiums. (Fram, 10/4)

Modern Healthcare: House, Senate Committees Pass CHIP Bill Proposals 
During the House panel's markup hearing Wednesday, Democrat members slammed a Republican proposal to partially pay for CHIP by charging higher Medicare premiums to seniors earning more than $500,000. The Senate version of the bill does not suggest an offset to fund the program. "Here we are with a partisan bill that asks for coverage of children on the backs of seniors," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). The suggestion could derail CHIP altogether, warned Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who noted that other bills circling in Congress, including proposed tax cuts, don't suggest how they will be funded. But some Republicans maintained that higher Medicare premiums for wealthy beneficiaries likely wouldn't be a hardship. (Dickson, 10/4)

The Hill: Children’s Health-Care Bill Faces New Obstacles
Bipartisan negotiations over an extension of children’s health insurance are veering off course, raising doubts that legislation can be passed quickly. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) played hardball on Wednesday, saying a fix for ObamaCare that is being negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) should be attached to the children’s health funding bill. (Sullivan, 10/4)

Morning Consult: Grassley Pressing To Include Drug Pricing Measures In CHIP Reauthorization
Sen. Chuck Grassley, a senior member and former chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, is pressing GOP leaders to tackle high drug prices in a critical bill to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Grassley (R-Iowa), who has tried for years to advance legislation targeting rising prescription drug costs to little avail, is pushing two bills as potential offsets for CHIP funding. Both measures have some bipartisan support, but neither has advanced in previous congressional sessions amid fierce pushback from the pharmaceutical industry. (Reid, 10/4)

The Wall Street Journal: States Worry Federal Funding For Children’s Health Program Won’t Come In Time
Several states have drawn up contingency plans that involve capping enrollment and possibly taking steps to shut down their programs should funding not come through in time. Last week, Utah became the first state to request federal permission to wind down its program if Congress doesn’t renew funding by the end of the year. Utah’s program serves 19,000 children, and the state is also home to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who oversees CHIP in Congress and is an influential supporter of the program. (Hackman, 10/4)

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