Subcommittee on Health Hearing: Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs

Last Friday, the Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on examining the extension of safety net health programs. The hearing featured testimonies from Ms. Jamie Snyder, Associate Commissioner for Medicaid/SCHIP Services in Texas, Mr. Michael Holmes, CEO of Cook Area Health Services and Ms. Cindy Mann, Partner with Manatt Health.

Ms. Snyder’s testimony centered on the benefits of CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) in Texas. She strongly advocated for the continued funding of the program which currently provides health insurance to approximately 380,000 children in Texas. Currently, there is a possibility of the Federal Government not reauthorizing CHIP which would result in a $1 billion decrease in funding and could ultimately prevent the continuation of CHIP by states.

In Mr. Holmes’ testimony, he thanked Congress for their support and investment in community health centers which provide healthcare services to individuals in rural areas of the country, most of whom have no other healthcare options and 92 percent of whom have incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. He then asked for their continued support and investment in community health centers. The President supported in his budget proposal an extension of funding for community health centers.

Ms. Mann’s testimony addressed the urgency of the September 30, 2017, expiration of federal funding for CHIP. The uncertainty of the continued funding places a significant burden on state governments, which will struggle to fund CHIP without federal funds. To address this concern, Ms. Mann recommended a five-year extension of federal CHIP funding. The President’s budget proposal proposed a two-year extension of federal CHIP funding.