It's October. What's Congress doing about healthcare?

We made it to October without letting Congressional Republicans ravage our healthcare system, so that's a relief. However, the fact that it's October also means funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and federally qualified health centers has expired ... and Congress has been putting so much energy into trying to gut Medicaid and further restricting women's access to abortions that they neglected to renew funding for these two immensely popular bipartisan programs.

Instead of funding these programs because they're crucial sources of coverage and care for large portions of our population, House Republicans are trying to use them as leverage to weaken other aspects of public health. Vox's Dylan Scott reports:

Republicans want to pay for CHIP and health center funding by cutting Obamacare and cutting entitlement spending.

The House GOP plan would:

  • Cut Obamacare's public health fund by $6.4 billion over 10 years

  • Cut the grace period for Obamacare enrollees who fail to make premium payments. Under current law, enrollees can miss three months of payments without losing their coverage. The House bill would shorten that grace period to one month or allow states to set their own.

  • Repeal Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, the controversial panel created by the law tasked with reducing Medicare's costs if the program's spending grows at too fast a rate.

  • Increase Medicare premiums for high earners (individuals making $500,000 annually)

  • Aim to cut Medicaid payments for prenatal care and preventive services for children in circumstances when another insurer could instead be liable for the costs

Let's all remember what this says about the values of current members of Congress when the next election arrives.

 

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