Pallone, Local Officials and Medical Professionals Discuss Urgent Need to Reauthorize Children’s Health Insurance Program & Fund Community Health Centers

Oct 23, 2017
Pallone, Local Officials and Medical Professionals Discuss Urgent Need to Reauthorize Children’s Health Insurance Program & Fund Community Health Centers

New Brunswick, NJ – On Monday, October 23 at the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) discussed the urgent need to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers (CHC), and other important public health programs, with state and local officials, medical professionals and health and children’s advocates. The program’s authorization expired on September 30th.

Video of the event can’t be found here.

Republicans are demanding cuts to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to reauthorize the programs and their partisan proposal jeopardizes the health care of more than 230,000 New Jersey children enrolled in CHIP annually, and the 23 federally-funded Community Health Center organizations in New Jersey with a combined 142 delivery sites.  New Jersey receives $462.9 million to fund its CHIP program. 

As the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone has been working to craft a bipartisan agreement on the reauthorization package.  To date, his Republican counterparts have been unwilling to budge from a partisan bill that they passed, with no Democratic support, in the Committee earlier this month.

The Republican bill pays for CHIP reauthorization and funding of Community Health Centers by slashing the prevention fund of the ACA, which pays for programs for children such as lead poisoning prevention and vaccinations. It also cuts back significantly on the grace period that people have to pay their monthly insurance premium, with the consequence that hundreds of thousands of people will lose their insurance if they miss their monthly premium payment. Lastly, the Republican bill forces the highest income seniors to pay 100% of the cost of Medicare, which could drive those seniors out of the Medicare system, resulting in increased costs for those who remain on Medicare.

“CHIP has been a long standing bipartisan priority for Members of Congress and state governments,” said Pallone. “Congress created CHIP with one goal in mind – to make sure no American child falls through the cracks of our nation’s health care system. Since the creation of CHIP, the share of uninsured children in the U.S. fell from nearly 14 percent in 1997 to 4.5 percent in 2015. Meanwhile if Congress fails to act, it is estimated that 2,800 health center locations will close and 50,000 clinicians and other staff will lose their jobs. We cannot abandon this essential program.”

“I have made it abundantly clear that the offsets proposed to pay for the extension of CHIP and CHCs should not be at the expense of other public health programs. I refuse to pay for them by robbing seniors or low and middle income Americans of their health insurance. The GOP leadership must stop sabotaging the ACA because cuts to the Affordable Care Act will cause more Americans to lose their health insurance or increase the cost of insurance.”

The Jewish Renaissance Medical Center (JRMC) is a community health center - one of 23 federally qualified health centers in New Jersey. It is dedicated to delivering preventive and primary medical services to the underserved and the uninsured population in a culturally competent environment. The Jewish Renaissance Family of Organizations was founded in 1995, and the JRMC was first funded as a community clinic in Perth Amboy in 1999. In 2000, JRMC became the first faith-based medical center in the nation to receive FQHC designation from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).