House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said a short-term funding patch for the Children’s Health Insurance Program is a strong possibility in the next government spending deal.
States are already running out of money for CHIP, which expired Sept. 30, and Congress has not passed a multiyear reauthorization because of partisan disagreements over how to pay for the program, which provides insurance to low-income children. Pelosi said at a press conference that talks to include a reauthorization in a bill to fund the government are continuing.
“They might do a CHIP patch,” she said, referring to the Republican majority.
The California Democrat then criticized that strategy, saying the program shouldn't be funded on a short-term basis.
“We should be doing proper pay-fors to provide certainty to provide healthcare to our children,” she said.
The funding offsets have been the biggest sticking point for the traditionally bipartisan program.
The House passed a bill more than a month ago that would fund CHIP for five years by taking money from an Obamacare disease prevention fund and charging wealthy seniors higher Medicare premiums. It also would shorten the grace period between when a person doesn’t pay his Obamacare premiums and loses coverage.
Democrats have balked at the funding sources, saying Republicans are taking money from critical programs that improve health.
States have been struggling with how to provide enough funding for the program, with about a half-dozen saying they would have to notify families soon that their programs could shut down. Alabama officials said last week it would need to notify parents by Christmas that state funds would run out.