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Advocates: Build Back Better's CHIP, Medicaid Changes Support NY Families


Wednesday, December 1, 2021   

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act will soon get a vote in the U.S. Senate, and in New York, advocates say it could mean major improvements to health coverage for lower-income adults and children.

The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families said states would be required to provide 12 months of continuous eligibility for children in enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Lara Kassel, coalition coordinator for Medicaid Matters New York, said Build Back Better also would increase postpartum coverage for new mothers, from 60 days to 12 months.

"We don't want someone to suddenly, 60 days after they've given birth, be without coverage," Kassel asserted. "We know that transitioning from program to program is not always successful. It's not always affordable for someone. And so, to have the economic security of Medicaid coverage is really critical."

New York is among 24 states already offering continuous one-year eligibility for children in Medicaid and CHIP, but just over half do not. Supporters of the bill say they want it passed by Christmas, but with increasing inflation, detractors are concerned about the cost, and could push for trimming its scope.

Build Back Better would also permanently extend federal funding for CHIP, which provides coverage to 6.8 million children whose family income is still low, but above the Medicaid eligibility level.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families, said the bill would remove financial uncertainty for many families who depend on CHIP to insure their kids.

"Hopefully this will provide an opportunity, with stability in the CHIP program, to allow states to try to get to the finish line here and get all kids covered," Alker contended.

The Children's Health Insurance Program currently has federal funding through 2027. Nearly 93% of eligible New York children are enrolled either in Medicaid or the state's CHIP program, "Child Health Plus."

Disclosure: Georgetown University Center for Children & Families contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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