The debate over healthcare reform in the United States continues and Republicans have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but there is one bright spot in the whole mess. The Senate has reached a deal that would expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years. The deal was first announced by the Senate Finance Committee.
Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (Ore.) said that the deal would also provide protections for low-income children while ensuring states have the flexibility they need. Despite some concerns that the bill would not pass Congress, Wyden and Hatch are confident that the bill will pass having worked closely with members of both parties to craft a bill that would meet approval by Republicans and Democrats. Beyond that, the GOP’s latest attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare have failed so it is likely that the GOP is looking for a win. By passing a bipartisan children’s healthcare bill, the Trump administration can claim a much needed win.
One thing that is less clear is whether the bill will make it through Congress on its own or serve as an avenue for members to pass other legislation. Such a practice is common with popular legislation, but Hatch has said that Congress needs to act quickly as the program’s funding is set to expire this month.
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) September 13, 2017
‘Congress needs to act quickly to extend the funding for CHIP. This agreement with ranking member Wyden is a good first start. Not only does this proposal provide uninterrupted funding for CHIP, but it also provides certainty and increased flexibility for states to administer the program. We will continue to work to advance this agreement in a way that does not add to the deficit, and I am hopeful we can move forward swiftly to ensure no lapse in care for our nation’s most vulnerable children.’
Wyden has also praised the program calling it “a great deal for America’s kids.”
Featured image via Getty Images.