Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Re-Authorizing CHIP: CHAMPION Act Passes House

Washington, D.C. - November 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Championing Health Kids Act, H.R. 3922 by a vote of 242-174 on November 3, 2017.
It now goes to the Senate.

The Championing Healthy Kids Act, H.R. 3922, uses offsets to fund CHIP and programs like community health centers while eliminating $5 billion in scheduled cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH). The bill includes a two-year extension of funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which focus on delivering health care to underserved populations through community-based and patient-centered models.

The CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922) includes:

  • Five year extension of Children’s Health Insurance Program;
  • Two year extension of Community Health Center funding at $3.6 billion;
  • Eliminates Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) reductions;
  • Two year extension of funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, the Youth Empowerment Program,
  • Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, Funding for the National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education, and the Personal Responsibility Education Program are included in this bill;
  • Two year Extension of the Special Diabetes Program for Type 1 Diabetes and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians; and
  • Over $1 billion for the Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

    The bill includes pay-for provisions such as limiting Medicaid benefits for lottery winners and requiring those making over $500,000 to pay for their Medicare premiums.

    Not everyone is happy with the bill. Senator Sherrod Brown (D - OH) maintains of the CHAMPION Act that while similar to the Senate bill, it creates winners and losers by funding CHIP by raising costs for Ohio seniors and cutting critical public health funds. The bill would reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by cutting funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Immediately after the vote, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH, 3rd) issued the following statement:

    “Ensuring children can see their doctor should not be a partisan issue. Unfortunately, today’s bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program has fallen prey to partisan politics, and many children and families will suffer as a result. Instead of forcing draconian cuts on community health programs that help at-risk Americans and countless working families in exchange for CHIP funding, Congress needs to focus on providing all Americans access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.”

    Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI, 1st) offered that, "with our national debt over $20 trillion, Congress must also be vigilant about how we prioritize spending on federal programs."

    "Using the Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for CHIP will harm the overall health of our communities. This bill would result in a cut of about $25 million for important Oregon public health initiatives over the next five years. That is unacceptable," said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR, 1st).

    The House Democrats are screaming against the cut in funding for the Prevention and Public Health fund in order to fund CHIP. Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA, 13th) voted to reauthorize CHIP for two years in 2015, and signed onto a congressional letter last month urging House leadership to bring a clean reauthorization bill up for a vote as soon as possible. He is not happy with the current Bill.

    In 2015 more than 8.4 million children received their insurance through the CHIP program and 24 million patients were served by Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • A Bill Against Vehicular Terrorism

    By Shonda Ponder, editor
    The Ponder News

    With all the bills in Congress right now against guns arising from the number of mass shootings and murders in the United States, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to try to do something about the number of vehicular assaults.

    I wonder how many times someone has used a vehicle to try to hurt someone. I know of several people who have been wounded due to someone else using their vehicle in an assaulting way -- but until now, no one seemed to want to strike out against vehicles as a weapon the way they have guns. After all, people depend on their vehicles in a more intimate way than they depend on their guns. Vehicles are a way of life. Without them, many would not be able to get to work in order to support their families. Guns are only their for a "just in case" scenario, or for hunting sports.

    I love the taste of deer sausage; but, you are not going to get me to eat roadkill.

    According to a press release from House Representative Robert E. (Bob) Latta (R OH, 5th), he has introduced legislation "to combat vehicular terrorism and direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide feedback to Congress on the issue. The Vehicular Terrorism Prevention Act, which follows up on previous efforts by Latta to protect Americans against vehicular terrorism, directs the DHS to report to Congress on their efforts to assess and prevent terrorist acts involving vehicles. Specifically, the report would include the current threat level for vehicular attacks, what the department is currently doing to prevent vehicular terrorism, how the threat can be mitigated, and a clarification on the extent to which DHS is doing outreach to private sector partners. It would also include any recommendations on what Congress can do to aid DHS efforts to prevent vehicular terrorism."

    Okay, so what happens when the DHS figures out that more people die from car assaults each day than guns? I'm curious. How many people have had wrecks they were found at fault in, then been charged with manslaughter because their passenger died? What do we do about them?

    Sure, we can take their vehicle away. That's not going to stop the problem, because I know a lot of people who have refused to quit driving even though they don't have a license to drive. It hasn't stopped them any more than having a permit or having to get a background check has stopped criminals from somehow accessing guns in order to shoot up a crowd of people, or murder someone.

    I'm sure they could find a way to make it harder to own a car, but the economy would suffer.

    So, Bob Latta, what is your end game here? Why go through all the trouble? What is it going to accomplish?

    I'm perplexed.