FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Missourians breathed a sigh of relief today when news broke that the U.S. Senate will not hold a vote on the Graham-Cassidy health care repeal bill.
Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All, said, “Graham-Cassidy would have jeopardized the programs and protections that provide access to care for hundreds of thousands of Missourians. Like the repeal proposals earlier this year, it failed in the face of overwhelming opposition from Americans across the political spectrum. It is time for Congress to hear the message: Americans want them to work to protect and improve health care, not decimate access to care for American families.”
The Senate’s focus on the partisan Graham-Cassidy bill has distracted them from looming deadlines on critical safety net programs. Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which serves nearly 87,000 Missouri children, expires this Saturday, September 30. And on Sunday, October 1, Missouri hospitals face devastating cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments that help them serve uninsured patients.
Both CHIP and DSH are vital to the health and well-being of Missouri’s children and hospitals.
“The Senate now needs to come together in a bipartisan manner to renew crucial programs that Missourians rely on, including DSH and CHIP,” added Bersdale. “We urge Senator Blunt and Senator McCaskill to work across the aisle to extend these programs before they expire. Missourians are counting on their leadership.”
In 2015, Congress passed a piece of legislation extending both of these programs with overwhelming bipartisan support. The decisive margins of 92-8 in the Senate and 392-37 in the House showed that Congress can put America’s hospitals and children above party politics, and should do so again.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides insurance to nearly 87,000 Missouri children. The program, which has long benefitted from bipartisan support, has been demonstrated to lead to lifelong improvements in health, better school performance, and improved economic achievement as adults.
Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments provide additional help to hospitals that serve a significantly disproportionate number of low-income patients. Missouri hospitals, especially in low-income and rural communities, rely heavily on these funds to care for their patients. However, hospitals will experience deep funding cuts unless Congress acts by September 30 to delay the cuts. According to the Missouri Hospital Association, If the Medicaid DSH allotment reductions take effect Oct. 1, Missouri’s share appears to be $2.2 billion through fiscal year 2025.