AL leaders, organizations react after CHIP gains House approval

Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 at 5:16 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A critical drafting of the Children's Health Insurance Program gained House approval Friday and now awaits a Senate decision. Federal funding for the nationwide program, commonly referred to as CHIP, stopped Oct. 1 and now lawmakers and representatives are reacting in both opposition and approval due to the proposed cuts, or improvements the new bill proposes.

Representatives of the Yellowhammer State, as well as organizations, have spoken out on the new House ruling:

Rep. Terri Sewell:

"I have been a vocal advocate for the reauthorization of CHIP, but today's bill uses unfair and inappropriate offsets to shift the cost of CHIP onto the rest of the healthcare system," said Rep. Terri Sewell. "Paying for one set of essential health programs by cutting funds for another is a losing strategy in the fight for better public health and more affordable care for all. When it comes to children's health insurance, Republican leadership has set up a false choice, offering CHIP reauthorization at the expense of other vital programs.

To make matters worse, today's bill leaves struggling hospitals on the hook for more extreme cuts to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. Rural hospitals in my district rely on DSH payments to keep their doors open, and these cuts will directly impact their ability to provide care. Republican leaders have failed the American people by letting essential health programs expire, like payments for rural hospitals and ambulance providers. We need to extend every single program that expired in September, including CHIP, diabetes research, teaching health center graduate medical research, and others, to ensure that providers and patients have the support they need."

Rep. Mike Rogers:

"I am pleased this fiscally-responsible legislation passed the House today with my support.  CHIP provides children in lower-income families with health care coverage.  This bill will help fund this critical program for our children across East Alabama and the country."

ARISE Citizen's Policy Project:

"The House Republican tax plan is an expensive new giveaway to wealthy households and big corporations at the expense of working families. It would offer little or nothing to most Alabamians, and it actually would increase taxes for many low- and middle-income folks.

This plan would add at least $1.5 trillion to the national deficit – and to pay for it, many in Congress will try next year to cut everything from education and Medicaid to food assistance for struggling families. Those cuts would make it even tougher for hard-working Alabamians to make ends meet.

Taking from those who have the least to give to those who have the most is no way to build a better economy, a better state or a better world. Congress should reject this tax bill and focus instead on closing corporate tax loopholes and investing in education, health care, transportation and other vital services that help struggling families get ahead across Alabama and across the country."

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