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Rep. Zeldin Leads Bipartisan Delegation of New York House Members Urging Full Funding of Essential Health Programs

LongIsland.com

Eight New York Members of Congress Voice Support for CHIP, DSH, and Community Health Centers.

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NY Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Photo by: Office of Congressman Lee Zeldin

Long Island, NY - December 21, 2017 - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) led a bipartisan delegation of eight New York Members of Congress in authoring a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging full funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers (CHC), and a delay in the implementation of Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) cuts.
 
“These essential programs provide millions of children, veterans, and individuals with the health care services they need,” Congressman Zeldin said. “In New York alone, failure to support these programs could mean the loss of health insurance for 300,000 New York children, $800 million dollars less for safety net hospitals, and the possible elimination of care for the nearly 2 million New Yorkers who depend on Community Health Centers. On behalf of the millions of New Yorkers who rely on these vital programs, my New York colleagues and I urge full funding.”
 
This November, the House passed the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922), which included a 5-year reauthorization of CHIP, 2-year reauthorization of Community Health Center funding, and the elimination of the Affordable Care Act mandated DSH reductions. The Senate has not passed that legislation yet. This letter urges funding for these programs to be included as the House considers another short-term spending measure to fund the government through the end of the year, which is expected to be voted on later this week.
 
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) was joined by Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18), Peter King (R, NY-2), Thomas Suozzi (D, NY-3), John Katko (R, NY-24), Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21), Dan Donovan (R, NY-11), and Kathleen Rice (D, NY-4) in sending this letter.
 
A PDF of the signed letter is available here.  
 
Full text of the letter is as follows:
 
Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi,
 
As Congress continues to negotiate end-of-the-year legislative items, we wish to call your attention to three issues in particular, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding, Community Health Center (CHC) funding and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment reductions. Each of these issues must be addressed in a bipartisan fashion before the end of this year in order to ensure essential care and services go uninterrupted. Without meaningful action on all three of these matters, countless New Yorkers and Americans across the nation will be negatively and unfairly impacted.
 
Community Health Centers:
 
Community Health Centers serve over 27 million individuals across the country, including over 300,000 of our nation’s veterans. In our home state of New York, over 60 CHC facilities provide services for roughly 2 million New York State residents. The Community Health Center Fund authorized by Congress represents 70% of CHC funding, which expired earlier this year.  Without knowing whether funding will be renewed, these facilities face significant financial hardships and could cause programs to scale back the services they provide, and in some instances, staff reductions and facility closures are also being considered.  In order to ensure timely funding, we respectfully request that funding for Federally Qualified Community Health Centers for a period of at least two years be passed into law before the end of the year.   
 
Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funding:
 
In New York, safety net hospitals across the state rely upon Medicaid DSH funding. If the current Medicaid DSH cuts are not delayed, New York State safety net hospitals stand to see, on average, a 20%, or roughly $800 million cut in funding for 2018 and 2019. Without action on this issue, some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations will be unnecessarily impacted, and hospitals will be required, once again, to do more with less. To remediate this issue, we request a delay of at least two years be considered to ensure services to patients go uninterrupted.
 
Children’s Health Insurance Program:
 
The Children’s Health Insurance Program has been an enormously successful program responsible for dramatically reducing the volume of uninsured children across the nation. In New York State alone, over 300,000 children receive insurance through this vital program, however, the authorization for this has also expired. Congress must take immediate action in order to ensure continuous coverage for the roughly 9 million children benefiting from this program nationwide. We request that a 5 year extension of CHIP be included in any year-end measure to ensure our nation’s children receive the best care possible.
 
While there are several important matters pending before Congress at present, these three issues are of particular importance to the state of New York. We urge you to address these matters as promptly as possible to ensure essential healthcare services are delivered.