The House Republicans, along with a handful of not-very-bright Democrats, passed their poisoned Children’s Health Insurance Program funding bill Friday, 242-174. This is not a children’s health bill. This is an Obamacare and Medicare sabotage bill. It jeopardizes the CHIP program even more than if it hadn’t passed because this bill is too poisoned to pass the Senate, which means it will create further delays as the Senate and House have to figure out a compromise. And at this point, 34 days after the funding authorization for the program has expired, every day that passes makes it harder for states to keep the program going and plan for its future. Every day that passes puts more kids in jeopardy of losing their coverage.
The bill contains several poison pills, including making Medicare premiums more expensive for some higher-income beneficiaries. Because it wouldn’t be a Republican “health” bill if
didn’t attack Medicare. It also wouldn’t be a Republican “health” bill if it didn’t threaten the health insurance of people enrolled in Obamacare plans. Which it does. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights a provision in the bill that “would take insurance away from as many as 688,000 low- and moderate-income people each year who miss a premium payment.”
People who now get federal advance premium tax credits (APTC) to help them afford insurance in the health care marketplaces have three months to pay overdue premiums before insurers can end their coverage. The legislation would shorten that grace period to one determined by state law—generally 30 days or less—making it harder for enrollees to catch up on missed payments. While a few states may mitigate the harm by enacting longer state grace periods, most would likely keep their existing grace periods.
As we’ve written, the current grace period is far from a free ride. If a person doesn’t catch up on all overdue premiums by the end of the third month, his or her coverage ends retroactively to the end of the first month of the grace period.