New York governor asks Congress to renew Child Health Insurance Program

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo implored the Congress to renew the funding for Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The governor’s request came after Hillary Clinton said the Congress missed the deadline to reauthorize CHIP for the first time.  The funding for CHIP expired at the end of September.

In statement, Cuomo said the failure to reauthorize the program jeopardizes health care for 350,000 children in New York.

The governor said, “This program is the safety gap that provides preventive health care critical for children.” In New York, CHIP covers children whose families do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford any other insurance coverage.

New York tells Congress to stop playing politics

According to Cuomo, New York receives $1 billion in federal funding through the program. Without the funding, the state will not be able to continue its Child Health Plus program. Children under the program receive preventive care including checkups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescription coverage, dental and vision care.

Cuomo emphasized, “This is not a partisan issue, and the stakes are too high to continue to play petty politics. I call on Congress to renew these essential health care programs.” He is also encouraging New Yorkers to call their representatives to “protect our health care.”

On the other hand, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said the federal government is attacking the New York’s healthcare system. She added, “Our children and the most vulnerable among us are their targets. Enough is enough. Congress needs to stop playing politics over people’s lives.”

Meanwhile, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the “Congress is again placing dollar signs before vital signs.” It is putting hundreds of thousands of New York children at risk.

According to Zucker, Cuomo will call a special session of the Legislature if Congress fails to reauthorize CHIP.  However, he emphasized that it is unlikely the Legislature can fill a $1 billion funding gap to continue providing coverage for children currently covered by the program.