The House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued a response to Jimmy Kimmel’s Monday monolgue on CHIP, or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
“The push was passionate, but left out many important details,” the Republican-led committee said in a statement released Wednesday. “Among them, the House’s bipartisan passage of H.R 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, in November. H.R. 3922 includes: a five-year extension of CHIP, a two-year extension of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or Community Health Centers, and a two-year extension for additional public health programs.”
The statement then directed readers to a Washington Post fact check of Kimmel’s monologue. That piece states that Kimmel’s claim that support for CHIP is no longer bipartisan is not exactly true.
“The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, which is why funding technically ran out when CHIP was not reauthorized,” it reads. “But states may continue to spend unspent 2017 allotments and funds from earlier years. Only three states and the District were projected to exhaust their funds by the end of December; more than half the states would run out of funds if fiscal year 2018 funding is not set by the end of March. That’s the kind of deadline that focuses the attention of lawmakers. In any case, the stopgap spending bill approved in early December included a provision that permits the Department of Health and Human Services to shift funds internally to help states whose CHIP programs are running out of money. Congressional leaders are expected to continue negotiating a long-term reauthorization of the program in the coming weeks.”
“Kimmel falsely suggests that CHIP has become a bargaining chip as part of the negotiations over the tax plan,” it continues. “It’s actually part of the usual year-end negotiations in Congress. Few lawmakers are really against CHIP; the question is how to fund it. The GOP-led House of Representatives on Nov. 3 passed a CHIP reauthorization bill by a vote of 242-174, with most Democrats voting against it because of funding offsets. In particular, they objected to shortening the grace period for Obamacare enrollees who fail to make premium payments. House Republicans have complained that Democrats have not countered with their own funding proposals, while Democrats have said offsets should not be necessary when the tax bills will add to the federal budget deficit. They have instead pushed for a ‘clean bill’ rather than one with ‘poison pills.’ The Senate Finance Committee in October approved its own version of the CHIP funding extension, but agreement has not been reached on how to fund it. Still, it’s quite possible a deal will be reached before Christmas. Lawmakers want to leave town before then.”
Kimmel has become an impassioned proponent of healthcare reform in recent months, notably since his newborn son Billy has had to undergo multiple heart surgeries.