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LAHR Legislative Update

Children's Health Insurance Program
Children’s Health Insurance Program Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired on September 30 and little progress has been made toward a solution. CHIP is a state and federally funded partnership that provides health insurance to children whose family income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private health insurance. Children are eligible for coverage through age 18 and receive services through a combination of Medicaid and CHIP specific programs.

CHIP has broad support from both parties however a path forward seems unclear at best. The Senate Finance Committee passed a bipartisan bill in September but the House has been unable to craft a similarly bipartisan solution. The most recent attempt in the House took funding from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to continue CHIP and was opposed by all Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Although funding expired at the end of September, most states will be able to continue CHIP in the short term. If Congress is unable to pass a funding mechanism, many states will be forced to end CHIP funded services in the near future. In Michigan, the CHIP funded program is called MIChild and covers roughly 116,000 low- income children. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says that CHIP funding in Michigan is projected to last until April or May 2018.

CHIP expiration is particularly urgent for families in Flint. Michigan received federal permission to use CHIP funding to cover children up to age 21 who were exposed to lead-contaminated water.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Since our last update, there has been little progress toward legislative protection for those eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). After President Trump’s announcement that he chose to end DACA, we identified three possible solutions that were introduced in Congress earlier this year. None of those bills has had a hearing or moved out of committee.

The only recent movement on DACA has come from President Trump. Although he initially signaled his support for DACA legislation, Trump is now tying his DACA support to a laundry list of immigration demands that read like a xenophobe’s dream. Among these demands are border wall funding, increased funding for interior enforcement, a reduction in legal migration, and changes to asylum laws. Democrats in both chambers have derided these new demands as “dead on arrival” and a “non-starter.”

Transgender Military Ban

Four lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s transgender military ban are working their way through the courts. On October 6, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the first lawsuit, stating that any legal challenge is premature because the policy has not been fully implemented. The administration has said publicly that no policy change will be effective until at least January 2018.

If implemented, Trump’s transgender ban will completely bar transgender individuals from serving openly in the United States armed forces.

If you want to contact your federal legislators, you can use the below phone numbers: Senator Debbie Stabenow 517-203- 1760 Senator Gary Peters 517-377-1508 Congressman Mike Bishop (8th District) 810-227-8600 Congressman Tim Walberg (7th District) 517-780-9075 Congressman John Moolenaar (4th District) 989-631-2552


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