But in a separate example of political malpractice, the House and Senate quietly put 9 million children, including 2 million in California, from low- to middle-income families at risk of losing their health insurance. About 23,000 kids are covered by this part of the program.
Lawmakers must remember that the measure of our society, and how they will be judged by voters, is by how well we defend the rights of those who can least defend themselves.
"The situation of trying to budget and trying to plan, not knowing the future of the program, is very hard", said Caldwell.
"States don't want to have to disenroll their kids", said Maureen Hensley-Quinn, senior program director at National Academy for State Health Policy, a non-partisan group that advises states on health policy. The program costs about $1 million, but likely saves more by reducing the odds patients will need amputations, dialysis or treatments for uncontrolled diabetes, she said - in addition to preventing the suffering associated with those complications.
In the 20 years since the program was implemented, the percentage of uninsured children in the United States has dropped from 14 percent to just under five percent.
As the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families reports, "Florida has cut its rate of uninsured children by more than half since 2009".
"We believe congress will come through, but the fact they would let the deadline expire is a concern", said Carnes. By all accounts, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of lawmakers even wanted to renew it.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-OR, announced late last week that the committee will markup a bill to extend federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, community health centers and other health programs next week.
In a bill summary, House Republicans said some states could run out of money as soon as November.
Heidi Capriotti, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, said officials "expect to see some action from committees next week" in Washington on CHIP, although nothing is definite at this point. Republicans, he said, intend to provide the funds, so "the money that is necessary to keep this program going is not in jeopardy".
EW: If there are significant coverage losses, fewer children having CHIP insurance, will that have an impact on pediatricians and hospitals and health care providers who rely on billing CHIP for their services?