Rep. Sewell Statement on CHIP Reauthorization
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, November 3, the House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), offsetting the reauthorization with cuts to Medicare, the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and other health programs. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) voted against the bill when it passed by a 242 to 174 vote.
“I have been a vocal advocate for the reauthorization of CHIP, but today’s bill uses unfair and inappropriate offsets to shift the cost of CHIP onto the rest of the healthcare system,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Paying for one set of essential health programs by cutting funds for another is a losing strategy in the fight for better public health and more affordable care for all. When it comes to children’s health insurance, Republican leadership has set up a false choice, offering CHIP reauthorization at the expense of other vital programs.”
“To make matters worse, today’s bill leaves struggling hospitals on the hook for more extreme cuts to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. Rural hospitals in my district rely on DSH payments to keep their doors open, and these cuts will directly impact their ability to provide care. Republican leaders have failed the American people by letting essential health programs expire, like payments for rural hospitals and ambulance providers. We need to extend every single program that expired in September, including CHIP, diabetes research, teaching health center graduate medical research, and others, to ensure that providers and patients have the support they need.”
The CHIP reauthorization bill cuts the Medicare program by $5.8 billion. The bill also cuts the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Prevention and Public Health Fund by $6.35 billion and shortens the ACA’s current grace period for paying premiums from 90 days to 30 days, kicking an estimated 700,000 Americans off their health insurance. The bill delays Medicaid DSH cuts for only two years, and pays for the DSH delay by increasing future cuts to $8 billion each year from 2021 through 2025.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.