Posts Tagged CHIP

Coalition Pushes for CHIP Reauthorization

Coalition Pushes for CHIP Reauthorization




The Medical Association, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, state lawmakers and a number of organizations advocating for children’s health care are petitioning the Alabama Congressional Delegation to support reauthorization of a bipartisan CHIP funding bill before the Sept. 30 deadline. In a letter to the Alabama Congressional Delegation outlining support for CHIP reauthorization, the coalition cited the great strides made possible through CHIP in ensuring children have access to the care they need. As well, any reductions in federal CHIP funding could cause problems for not only Alabama’s ALL Kids program but also children enrolled in Alabama Medicaid.

Below is the letter, and more signees are expected before the Sept. 30 deadline. Download a copy of the letter here.

We, the undersigned Alabama elected officials and organizations advocating for children and pregnant women in our state, write to urge your support of the Hatch-Wyden bill, Keeping Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act (S. 1827). This bipartisan legislation ensures stability for vulnerable children by extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years. The bill also provides additional protections for low-income children and increases flexibility for states.

As you know, federal funding for CHIP expires on September 30, 2017. Without certainty from Congress on CHIP funding, states will be forced to make drastic cuts to the program. This could mean slashing enrollment, reducing benefits, and imposing higher costs for families.

CHIP is a bipartisan success story. The program was created in 1997 and has been championed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle since its very beginning. Together with Medicaid, CHIP has helped to reduce the numbers of uninsured children by a remarkable 68 percent. Now is the time for Congress to stabilize the CHIP funding stream and protect the gains in children’s health coverage that have resulted in more than 95 percent of all children in America being enrolled in some form of insurance coverage.

The program is designed around what children need. It offers benefits that are age-appropriate, including dental coverage and mental health and substance abuse services, which may not be covered by a family’s employer-sponsored insurance.

CHIP plans include networks of pediatricians, pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists, and children’s hospitals, which are especially critical for children with special health care needs.

Families deserve peace of mind knowing that they will be able to access the care and support services their children rely on to be healthy.

Currently in Alabama, 157,000 children are covered by CHIP, known as ALL Kids in our state. With state budgets already set for the coming year, states are counting on CHIP to continue in its current form. Changes to CHIP’s structure – including changes to the Maintenance of Effort or the enhanced CHIP matching rate – would cause significant disruption in children’s coverage and leave states with critical shortfalls in their budgets. Given CHIP’s track record of success, changes to CHIP that would cause harm to children must not be made. In Alabama, we would be forced to use funds originally appropriated for Alabama Medicaid to keep children covered on CHIP. So lack of continued funding at its current level would mean a double hit for Alabama!

Today, we stand united in urging you and your colleagues to work together to enact a five-year extension of CHIP funding.  Securing this critical source of coverage for children and pregnant women into the future is an important opportunity for meaningful, bipartisan action to honor CHIP’s 20 years of success.

Thank you for all you do for our state and the children of Alabama.



Representative Steve Clouse, Chair, House Ways and Means General Fund Committee

Representative Anthony Daniels, House Minority Leader

Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, House Majority Leader

Representative Mac McCutcheon, Speaker of the House

Representative April Weaver, Chair, House Health Committee

Senator Del Marsh, Senate President Pro Tempore

Senator Jim McClendon, Chair, Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Senator Greg Reed, Senate Majority Leader

Alabama Academy of Family Physicians

Alabama Arise

Alabama Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics

Alabama Children First

Alabama Hospital Association

Children’s of Alabama

Medical Association of the State of Alabama

UAB Health System

University of South Alabama Health System

VOICES for Alabama’s Children


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U.S. Senate Announces 5-Year CHIP Funding Program

U.S. Senate Announces 5-Year CHIP Funding Program

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee reached an estimated $8 billion bipartisan agreement that renews funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years and phases out the 23 percent Obamacare funding bump. States would have to maintain eligibility through 2019, and after that there would be no so-called maintenance of effort for children of parents with incomes more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

While the deal does not include details of how the Congress would pay for the funding extension, the proposed legislation would maintain Obamacare’s 23 percent increase in the federal matching rate to states for 2018 and 2019 and begin to ratchet it down in 2020, according to GOP and Democratic aides. The bump is set at 11.5 percent in 2020 and would be totally eliminated starting in 2021. Amendments to the proposed legislation are expected.

“The Medical Association began working with Alabama’s Congressional Delegation in January when we traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Government Relations Conference,” said Executive Director Mark Jackson. “We wanted to express to them the importance that CHIP funding be renewed and the impact the program has on our residents. We are pleased to see that there is a bi-partisan proposal in the Senate that will keep CHIP funding in place.”

CHIP is authorized through 2019, but funding runs out at the end of September. CHIP covers families with income levels between 138 percent and 405 percent of the federal poverty level. States determine the eligibility levels within those parameters, and the ACA requires that states maintain eligibility levels that were in place as of March 23, 2010. States that reduce eligibility lose federal Medicaid funding. Eligibility levels are capped between 200 percent and 300 percent of poverty in 30 states, and in 19 states eligibility levels are higher than 300 percent of poverty, although those states don’t receive the higher match rate for enrollees above the 300 percent threshold, according to American Action Forum. The Finance deal would let states drop eligibility levels to 300 percent of poverty after 2019.

More than 97 percent of CHIP enrollees have family income of 250 percent of poverty, according to the American Action Forum analysis.

The American Academy of Family Physicians and more than 130 other organizations issued a statement on Sept. 6 calling on legislators to save the CHIP from chaos and families from confusion by extending the program’s funding for five years before it expires on Sept. 30.

“CHIP has a proven track record of providing high-quality, cost-effective coverage for low-income children and pregnant women in working families,” the statement said. “CHIP was a smart, bipartisan solution to a real problem facing American children and families when it was adopted in 1997, and its importance and impact in securing a healthy future for children in low-income families has only increased. As Congress continues to work on larger health system reforms, a primary goal should be to improve health coverage for children, but at a minimum, no child should be left worse off. We urge our nation’s leaders to work together to enact a five-year extension of CHIP funding as an important opportunity for meaningful, bipartisan action.”

Nearly 9 million children whose families could not otherwise afford health insurance have access to health care because of CHIP. The program also enables pregnant women in 19 states to obtain the health care they need to have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy infants. Many families covered by the program have incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid.

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Medical Association Urges CMS to Reduce EHR and MU Burden on Physicians

Medical Association Urges CMS to Reduce EHR and MU Burden on Physicians

The Medical Association has joined forces with the American Medical Association, Medical Group Management Association and 85 other medical groups to urge Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reduce electronic health record and meaningful use requirements on physicians.

In a letter to new CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the groups first welcomed the new administration’s emphasis on reducing regulatory burdens on the house of medicine by acknowledging that the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, and the existing value-based purchasing programs affecting physicians, such as Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System and Value-based Payment Modifier needing streamlining and alignment. However, the administration was urged to take steps to address these same challenges in MU, PQRS and VM prior to their replacement by MACRA and minimize the penalties assessed for physicians who tried to participate in these programs.

“Eligible providers should not be penalized for focusing on providing quality patient care rather than the arbitrary ‘check the box’ requirements of MU. Creating an administrative burden hardship exemption would provide immediate relief for those impacted by the programs that predate MACRA,” the letter stated. “As indicated in the MACRA law and final regulations, policymakers in Congress and the Administration clearly understand that fair and accurate measurement of physicians’ performance will not be possible until better tools become available. We also believe the steps we have outlined are in keeping with President Trump’s efforts to reduce regulatory burden.”

See also Medical Association Joins Call to CMS to Delay EHR Certification Requirements

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Opinion: All Americans Need Access to Affordable, Quality Care

meigsEditorial contributed by John Meigs Jr., M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, member of the Medical Association Board of Censors, and a family physician in Centreville, Ala. Editorial reprinted by permission.

Since Election Day, health care analysts have tried to forecast the fate of our health care system. Much remains uncertain, but what is undisputed is the goal that all Americans must be able to obtain affordable, high-quality and efficient health care. This must be at the center of any national health care strategy. That’s why America’s family doctors are starting this new year by encouraging the Trump administration and the 115th Congress to focus on this essential priority.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has long supported and advocated for meaningful patient-centered health care for all, an underlying tenet of many health care reform proposals, including the 2010 Affordable Care Act. We recognize that our current health care system is not perfect and new approaches can certainly improve the law. However, the nearly 200 million Americans who currently have health care coverage through the individual, small group and employer-based markets — as well as Medicaid — should not have their coverage and insurance protections jerked out from underneath them.

Within any changes, the overarching policy must ensure everyone has access to health care. Because America’s family doctors see more than half a million patients a day, we know what policies and programs ensure access to consistent, comprehensive and preventive care, particularly for low-income individuals and families. Financial barriers to care have crumbled as a result of Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicare. Medicaid and CHIP currently enroll nearly 73 million children and low-income Americans. Medicare preserves access to care for nearly 56 million elderly and disabled people. Equally important, patients who have privately purchased health insurance — particularly those with high-deductible plans — must not have to overcome financial obstacles to receive care.

Patient-centered care is at the heart of health care reform, which is why we must have a payment system that rewards the value of care over the volume of services provided. Our nation’s policy must build on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act — or MACRA — to ensure family physicians in all practice settings can continue to practice patient-centered care.

Our lawmakers also must commit to building a physician workforce that can meet the growing demand for primary care. They must support efforts to maintain a steady pipeline of primary care physicians through graduate medical education reforms and extension of the community-based Teaching Health Center program that attracts students to family medicine.

Health care is a personal matter, which is why primary care is the foundation of our health care system. Time and time again, primary care physicians have been counted on to provide care to millions of Americans from all parts of the country — for they have proven their expertise to improve health outcomes while lowering costs.

It is imperative that we have national health policies that ensure all Americans can sustain a continuous relationship with their primary care physicians. The only way we can do this is with legislation and regulations that ensure all Americans, regardless of health or financial status, can get needed health care in a timely, efficient, affordable and personalized manner. America’s family doctors pledge our support in helping to achieve this vision.

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