In November, the U.S. House passed a bill that Republican leaders said would provide a five-year extension to the CHIP program. Wyden has always supported extending CHIP for as long as possible, including a permanent extension that would save taxpayers billions of dollars while giving kids long-term health care security. CBO says the alternatives are more expensive: "the federal costs of the alternatives to providing coverage through CHIP (primarily Medicaid, subsidized coverage in the marketplaces, and employment-based insurance) are larger than the costs of providing coverage through CHIP during that period". John Cornyn of Texas, who is part of the Senate leadership, and Rep. Greg Walden of OR, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee - told reporters Wednesday that they think an agreement is close.
"I don't want to be jumping for joy, but as a result of this bad policy, CBO now says that CHIP will cost significantly less - and that over a decade, it will produce a net savings", Pallone says.
Beth Kidder, a deputy secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration, told legislators that the short-term fix is expected to keep Florida's program running through the end of March.
Had that accident happened this year, though, Natali, 50, of Aliquippa, Pa., might be scrambling. Together, Medicaid and CHIP cover about 45 percent of all children in the state.
CHIP funding expected to pass next week
Keeping kids healthy should be a top priority, he said. Some states, including Minnesota, are using state dollars to fund the program.
Without CHIP, dental hygienist Marina Natali says she couldn't afford health coverage for her sons, 12-year-old Ciro (right) and 15-year-old Marcus.
Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician, said families are reacting with "fear and disbelief" to CHIP's uncertain future.
Congressional leaders are working on a deal to extend the program for five years, possibly as part of a broader agreement to fund the government before a January 19 deadline. I am urging my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle to urgently prioritize issues that are essential to working folks - like ensuring the children who rely on CHIP can keep getting the care they need.
"These families don't know if the rug is being pulled out from them at any time", he said. Any spending bill that Congress takes up must include long-term funding for CHIP.
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He also spoke about the love between his sister and brother-in-law: "They are together and always will be". Craig Whitall, 50, who was the driver of the other auto involved the crash also passed away.