CHIP-ping the states

This article was published November 8, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

Dear editor:

HR 3922 passed House on a partisan vote today, Nov. 3, extending the CHIP program and a few others as follow in Congressman Bruce Westerman's own words from his website: "Five Year Extension of The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): CHIP is an important safety net program that provides health care to lower-income children. In 2015, more than 8.4 million children received their health insurance through a CHIP program. The bill extends CHIP funding through FY 2022 and ensures children continue to receive coverage through state CHIP programs rather than through the ACA exchanges and Medicaid. This bill also restores the historically successful federal-state partnership and prudently limits federal spending by unwinding the 23 percent E-FMAP (Medicaid) created in the ACA. This means the capital gains tax in ACA."

Not knowing what the E-FMAP was, I looked it up and apparently it allows for a larger federal share of Medicaid payments to states that have lower per capita income as compared to others, so instead of a 50/50 share, the lower per capita income states, such as Arkansas, would receive a higher percentage, so Rep. Westerman's "unwinding the 23 percent" says to me that Arkansas would revert to 50/50 split increasing Arkansas' share (cost) by 23 percent. I might be wrong on this, but that's the way it reads to me.

So, while this program (CHIP) has been historically successful, in Westerman's own words, I doubt it will continue to be given the fact that the tax overhaul, also completely partisan, cuts $1 trillion from the Medicaid program over next 10 years, as well as $500 billion from our Medicare. None of this will hit the public until next year and possibly not have a real impact for several years, but an impact it will have eventually, so remember who did it when the finger pointing starts.

I suspect CHIP will be phased out by the time it comes up for another extension in five years' time.

Judith Zitko

Hot Springs Village

Editorial on 11/08/2017

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