Lujan Grisham Votes Against CHIP Legislation that Undermines Public Health Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham voted today against legislation that would cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, sabotage the ACA, and raise Medicare premiums for seniors to pay for reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Community Health Centers.
“Like many others who care deeply about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers (CHC), I am appalled by the vote we took in the House today. Cutting essential public health programs and kicking nearly 700,000 Americans off of their health care plans to pay for an extension of CHIP and CHC funding is illogical, unnecessary, and reprehensible.
“CHIP is a critical safety net and provides more than 15,000 New Mexico children with high quality, comprehensive health care coverage. Rather than playing politics with their health care, Republicans should recommit to the bipartisan approach taken in years past and work toward a long-term solution that provides the stability that the families who rely on this program deserve. Time is running out, and Congress’s failure to act is causing many states to quickly run out of funds, jeopardizing life-saving health care for low-income children across the country.”
The Republican bill, which heads to the Senate, would damage the health care safety net, sabotage the ACA, and harm the health of Americans. Specifically, the Republican bill:
- Sabotages the ACA by kicking nearly 700,000 hardworking Americans off their health insurance. The legislation shortens the current grace period for paying premiums from 90 days to 30 days, which will result in hundreds of thousands of low and moderate income individuals losing health insurance coverage, and potentially locking them out of coverage for the rest of the year. The current 90 day grace period allows enrollees to maintain Marketplace coverage during hardship and doesn’t penalize vulnerable Americans.
- Cuts the ACA’s Prevention Fund by $6.35 billion over 10 years, which plays a critical role in keeping Americans healthy. The fund makes up 12 percent of the CDC budget, which funds: lead poisoning prevention, access to vaccines for children; state opioid prevention and response efforts; diabetes, heart disease, and stroke prevention; and youth suicide programs, among other public health and prevention activities.
- Raises premiums for Medicare beneficiaries, undermining the program and breaking Medicare’s promise to seniors. The legislation requires high income beneficiaries to pay 100 percent of the costs of Medicare Part B and Part D coverage, thereby cutting the program by $5.8 billion. AARP strongly opposes this offset, which “would unfairly and inappropriately offset some of the program’s costs onto older Americans in Medicare.”
- Provides woefully inadequate Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and USVI. Republicans have given no commitment to address Medicaid financing through an emergency supplemental for disaster relief. Their bill provides only $1 billion of funding with strings attached, and does not address fundamental financing issues still facing Puerto Rico and USVI’s Medicaid programs, such as their 55 percent federal match rate, which will exacerbate delays in recovery. The Republican package also does nothing for states and providers caring for Hurricane evacuees.
- Deceives and leaves safety net hospitals out in the cold with deep DSH cuts. The bill delays Medicaid DSH cuts for only two years, and pays for the DSH delay through steeper cuts in the future - $8 billion each year from 2021 through 2025. Such extreme cuts create an even larger cliff that would not provide safety net hospitals with the operational certainty that they need.