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Beyond CHIP: More health programs still in limbo

The Children's Health Insurance Plan is taken care of, but a host of other health care “extenders” are still waiting for congressional action, including funds for community health centers and graduate medical education.

The bottom line: Government funding runs out again in three weeks, presenting another opportunity for these programs to find some funding — and another round of potential shutdown drama. But the 9 million kids covered by CHIP won’t be caught in the middle next time.

The details: Those programs expired at the end of September along with CHIP, and were included in the stand-alone CHIP bill House Republicans passed in November, but didn’t make it into the spending bill that passed yesterday.

  • “The uncertainty is really sending a chill through the health centers … everybody’s very nervous,” said Claudia Gibson, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Community Health Centers.
  • Federal funding makes up about 20% of health centers’ revenues, and the specific program still stalled on Capitol Hill accounts for about 70% of that money, she said. Some health centers have already adjusted their staffing to make up for the lack of funding.
  • “No one is against us, it’s just, they haven’t gotten to it,” Gibson told me.
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