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Honorable Tim Walz

Representing the 1st District of MINNESOTA

Walz, Ellison, McCollum, Nolan, and Peterson Urge Leadership to Hold Bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Vote

Oct 5, 2017
Press Release
Call for House Floor action on CHIP reauthorization both parties can support ASAP in letter to Speaker Ryan & Leader Pelosi

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Tim Walz, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Richard Nolan, and Collin Peterson urged Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to bring bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the House Floor for a vote as soon as possible. CHIP, a federal program created in 1997 to help states provide health insurance to low-income populations, covers roughly 9 million children across the nation.

In a letter to the Speaker and Minority Leader, the Minnesota coalition stressed the urgency of reauthorizing CHIP for the vulnerable Minnesota families it serves, highlighting that its funding already expired on September 30, 2017 due to congressional inaction.

“Without immediate action, the pregnant women covered by CHIP will be at risk of losing coverage altogether,” the lawmakers wrote. “We strongly request that you bring bipartisan CHIP reauthorization to the House floor immediately so we can ensure certainty in healthcare for our constituents who need it most.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Minnesota utilizes federal CHIP funding to provide health coverage to infants under the age of 2 with income above 275 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and below 283 percent of the FPL; expecting mothers who are not eligible for Medicaid with income up to 278 percent of the FPL, and children on Medicaid with income above 133 percent of the FPL and below 275 percent of the FPL. In all, approximately 126,900 Minnesotans rely on CHIP, including 200 infants, 1,700 expecting mothers, and 125,000 children.

For more information on CHIP in Minnesota, a Minnesota DHS fact sheet can be found here.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

We write on behalf of Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations to urge you to bring bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the House floor as soon as possible.

As you know, CHIP funding expired on September 30th, 2017. While most states will not exhaust their CHIP funds until months from now, Minnesota will exhaust its allotment sooner, and is thus already facing the difficult decision to take significant monetary losses in order to continue health care coverage for the population it serves. Our state’s commitment to providing the most robust coverage possible means that Minnesota generally spends its entire CHIP allotment each year, under the assumption that CHIP funding will continue in a timely manner without any lapse.

Without immediate action, the pregnant women covered by CHIP will be at risk of losing coverage altogether. Minnesota is trying to temporarily extend this coverage so that prenatal and postpartum care can continue uninterrupted, but this comes with a serious financial cost to the state. Our state has received temporary CHIP redistribution funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cover the infants under two years of age and pregnant women through October. However, Minnesota will face a hard choice at the end of October about whether to carry forward funding to continue coverage, which would result in a financial loss of $10 million due to a penalty for using carryover funds.

We cannot overstate the urgency of this situation. This is a particularly time-sensitive request, as Congress has already missed the deadline to reauthorize this vital program. As Minnesota’s House delegation, we remain committed to the strong bipartisan ideals of CHIP. We strongly request that you bring bipartisan CHIP reauthorization to the House floor immediately so we can ensure certainty in healthcare for our constituents who need it most.

Sincerely,

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