A few hours ago Axios reported:
The Senate is unlikely to address outstanding health care issues in the government spending bill that must pass by Friday, according to three senior GOP aides and a Democratic leadership aide. That means that a long-term CHIP funding bill, delays of the Affordable Care Act taxes and individual market stabilization are unlikely to be addressed until the new year.
New York Magazine explains further:
On Wednesday afternoon, Republican senators Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander confirmed that their party plans to take a vacation before giving working-class families some peace of mind about their children’s health coverage:
“We have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation,” the senators, who are sponsoring a bill that provides funding intended to stabilize the individual insurance market, said in a statement. “Instead, we will offer it after the first of the year when the Senate will consider the omnibus spending bill, the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization, funding for Community Health Centers, and other legislation that was to have been enacted this week.”
It should be noted that an editorial in this afternoon's Wheeling News-Register did call for immediate action on CHIP funding -- good for them. Since Republicans control both houses of Congress, I looked for reasons in the editorial as to why the funding had not been renewed. None were given.
Have you noticed that when Democrats control state or national government, the local papers will always fault Democrats when something goes wrong. However, when Republicans are in control, the blame falls on generic "legislators"or "lawmakers" or no blame is assigned?
The Republicans did everything they could to get their tax package passed but have done little to fund CHIP. Earlier this month, Dylan Scott in Vox had an excellent analysis:
You can tell what a party really cares about by watching what they’re willing to pass, financing be damned. Republicans really care about tax cuts — and so they’ll overlook a $1.5 trillion hole in the federal deficit and promise that economic growth will cover it even when almost every independent analysis disagrees.
But when it comes to a program like CHIP, a policy founded with Republican support that literally provides health insurance for poor children, hard conversations about offsets must be had, even if they put the program’s future at risk. “We don’t have any money,” as Hatch said on the Senate floor. Republicans are demanding cuts to other health care programs as the price of extending CHIP.
"I believe Sen. Hatch wants to get CHIP done, but it clearly hasn't risen to the top of the priority list,” Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, told me. “What bears pointing out here is that this is a terrible way for the federal government to run a program! States have been left holding the bag and are wasting time and money. Families are being subjected to needless anxiety after a long year of anxiety about health care being taken away.”
But this is the price Hatch and other Republicans were willing to pay as they left the program unfunded for the past two months while rushing through the most significant rewriting of the nation’s tax code in a generation — a rewriting of the tax code that will mean a more than $1 trillion decrease in revenues over the next decade, and thus even less money to finance programs like CHIP.
Because that’s what their priority is.
Finally, Orin "we don't have any money" Hatch is the senator responsible for embedding the real estate bonus into the final tax bill that will give him and other Republican senators windfall profits in the millions. (See two posts down.)