Governors to Congress: Resume Bipartisanship

WASHINGTON—Following the Senate’s decision yesterday to move on from a broad health care reform bill, the National Governors Association (NGA) today released the following statement on the need to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and stabilize the nation’s health insurance markets:

“Congress must not wait any longer to renew CHIP and act to stabilize the nation’s health insurance markets. In this time of uncertainty and an ever-ticking clock, there is only one certain path to resolving these crucial issues: bipartisanship.

Governors stand ready to work with in you in a bipartisan way to create a healthy future for our country.

Congressional inaction has led to a probable lapse in federal CHIP funding at the end of this month. As a nation that takes care of our children, this is unacceptable. Since CHIP was enacted, the uninsured rate for children 18 or younger has fallen from 14.9 percent to 4.8 percent.

Very soon, states will have to send notices to families informing them their children may not be covered in the near future because of insufficient federal funds. Reauthorizing CHIP should be an urgent priority, and the NGA Health and Human Services Committee has applauded the bipartisan efforts of the Hatch-Wyden legislation.

In addition to CHIP, governors also prioritize the immediate stabilization of the insurance market.

We applaud the renewed commitment of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to find a bipartisan solution to insurance market stabilization and we encourage Congress to support and engage in their effort. Earlier this month, five governors from both parties discussed with Congress how states and the federal government can work together to make health insurance more affordable.

At the hearing, governors and senators offered that market stabilization can begin with three actions from Congress:

  • Immediately and fully fund Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments to provide certainty for insurers and, in turn, ensure more affordable access to insurance for enrollees in the months and years ahead;
  • Streamline the Section 1332 state innovation waiver process, reducing the cumbersome requirements at the state level to apply and broadening the flexibilities that states may access; and
  • Strengthen the state-federal partnership on reinsurance with flexibility and support from the federal government to build and maintain such programs.

We urge Congress to resume a bipartisan path to ensure children can keep their health insurance and Americans have access to affordable health coverage.”