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ROSEN APPLAUDS CMS FOR FULFILLING DELEGATION REQUEST TO FUND CHIP, URGES CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TO IMMEDIATELY REAUTHORIZE PROGRAM

December 1, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03) released the following statement in response to news that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will award Nevada's Check Up Program, also known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), with $5.6 million in funding for the month of December, and a similar amount through January 31, 2018, an expected total of more than $11 million in funding. The news comes after Rosen led a bipartisan letter last week urging CMS Administrator Seema Verma to immediately fund the program.

"It is unconscionable that even one child would lose health coverage due to Congressional inaction," said Rosen. "I'm grateful to CMS Administrator Verma for heeding our call to immediately fund Nevada Check Up, and will continue to press Congressional leadership and the Administration to reach a long-term solution to fund this critically important program."

BACKGROUND: Congresswoman Rosen led a bipartisan letter with all four House members from Nevada’s Delegation urging CMS Administrator Seema Verma to immediately fund Nevada’s Check Up Program so that it could stay afloat until February. The CHIP program expired on September 30, 2017, and Governor Sandoval recently informed the Congressional Delegation that the state would run out of funds for children’s healthcare on December 15th.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was ​first ​signed into law in 1997 and provides federal matching funds to states to provide health coverage to children in families who don't qualify for Medicaid but can't afford private coverage. In Nevada, children living in households with an annual income of up to 200% of the federal poverty level may qualify for coverage through Nevada Check Up. Nearly 69,000 Nevada children received medical coverage through Nevada Check Up or CHIP this year.

Read text of the letter here or below:

 

LETTER TEXT

November 21, 2017

The Honorable Seema Verma

Administrator

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

Dear Administrator Verma:

We write in strong support of the State of Nevada’s request for $11.3 million in funding for its Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Nevada Check Up. Following the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) decision to provide financial assistance to several other states to buttress their endangered CHIP-funded programs, it is both appropriate and necessary for CMS to provide CHIP redistribution funds to Nevada as soon as possible.

Inaction by congressional leadership in both chambers has threatened the health care coverage of Nevada’s most vulnerable residents – its low-income children. As you are aware, over the protestations of the Nevada Delegation, federal authorization of CHIP was allowed to lapse at the end of September 2017, putting at risk the future of children’s health programs across the country. At this very moment, about 27,000 Nevada children from low-income families are in peril of losing their health care by the end of the year if Congress and the Administration do not act. Over the last twelve months, nearly 69,000 Nevada children have benefited from access to health care coverage through the federally-supported Nevada Check Up program, which may begin to fold by year’s end without additional funds.

The State of Nevada recently submitted a request to CMS for $11.3 million in redistribution funds to allow Nevada Check Up to continue operating through February 2018. This urgent request is necessary to prevent dire coverage gaps for Nevada’s children. With nearly $3 billion in unspent CHIP dollars available to CMS to distribute to states in need, there is no reason to deny assistance to Nevada’s children. We implore you to approve Nevada’s request for CHIP distributions funds without delay.  

We thank you for your immediate attention to this critical issue. Tens of thousands of children in Nevada are counting on CMS to shore up this vital health insurance program before the rapidly approaching coverage cliff.

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