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House passes bill to renew Children’s Health Insurance program; now goes to Senate

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The House has passed a bill to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers and other public health programs, GOVERNING reports.

Advocacy organizations and state officials have been clamoring for Congress to act to extend funding for CHIP, community health centers and a number of other safety net programs.

Most still had some money to keep operations going after the Sept. 30 expiration date but officials are increasingly nervous about running out. In the case of CHIP, federal health officials have been funneling some leftover funds to the states that are in the most dire situations.

However, the bill still needs to pass the Senate, where it may face some pushback.

The Senate has its own version. It mirrors the House bill’s five-year extension for CHIP, would retain the same eligibility requirements and would phase out a funding bump in previous laws. But the Senate bill has the support of both parties in part because it does not include offsets, the issue that sparked division in the House.

On Thursday, 22 Democratic senators wrote a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., voicing their opposition to funding CHIP through cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides money for vaccines, smoking cessation assistance and other programs intended to improve people’s health.

From GOVERNING

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