CHIP should not be included in stopgap bill

The CHIP program provides health coverage to 9 million children from lower-income households that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid

But a six-year extension of CHIP is now included in the short-term GOP bill to fund the government that is coming up for a potentially close vote in the House on Thursday. Democratic leaders said the CHIP funding wasn't enough to draw their support. The deal is expected to be voted on by Congress by the end of the week.

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has been without permanent funding since October, is at the center of a looming government shutdown in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, an estimated 113,000 or more kids in New Jersey are at risk of becoming uninsured if the money isn't restored.

Trump's stance on CHIP may influence some Republicans' votes on the proposal - or give some Democrats cover not to back the bill. It's now within the GOP's power to pass a permanent extension, but as they themselves have admitted, that removes their power to use the program as a bargaining chip every few years. Democrats have supported reauthorizing the insurance program.

"We think this is a deal that both House Democrats and the Senate should take up because it satisfies one of the fundamental issues facing our country right now and that's the fact that we have a number of states running out of money to provide critical insurance coverage for children", said Rep. Steve Womack.

Interviews with several sources who know the program and the political dynamics around it say what many Republicans will not out loud: Some in their party, particularly archconservatives in the House, have deeply ambivalent feelings about CHIP, and if they are going to extend it, they want spending cuts to Obamacare or Medicare in return, as the CHIP extension that the House muscled through in November did.

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The House speaker, Paul Ryan, and the White House tried to say Mr. Trump didn't really mean what he tweeted about CHIP. But President Trump tweeted Thursday morning that was a bad idea.

Democrats have mounted a Twitter campaign of their own in recent days. It is administered by states but is jointly funded by state and federal governments.

CHIP helps to provide support for children with special health care needs and to reduce disparities in coverage for communities of color - more than half of Hispanic and black children are covered through CHIP and Medicaid.

For now, the blame game continues, leaving parents and grandparents ask: How can lawmakers do this to my child?

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