U.S. Rep. Greg Walden said he believes Congress will soon pass a six-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The Oregon Republican told reporters on a conference call Jan. 12 the health care program for children and pregnant women could be funded for six years after the Congressional Budget Office revised its financial impact estimates to reflect the repeal of the individual health insurance mandate in the recent tax legislation.
“We can now fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years without finding pay-fors,” he said.
The House passed similar legislation in November, but Walden said the Senate had been unable to garner bipartisan support to pass it. Walden said, with the new CBO score, he believes a reworked version will pass the Senate.
He said he anticipated the House to take up the matter this week and the funding would be immediate, once passed. Without the bill, he said he believed short-term extensions would continue to be passed.
Oregon was expected to run out of federal funding for the program in December, but Gov. Kate Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority to extend coverage through April using state funds. Statewide, 120,000 children and 1,700 pregnant women rely on the program.
“We all know the importance of prenatal health care and everything that goes with child birth and young children,” Walden said. “As a parent, knowing your child is covered is essential.”