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Trump asks Congress to cut $7 bill to child health insurance; locals say No

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President Donald Trump speaks about the signing of a $1.3 trillion spending bill in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, March 23, 2018. The Trump Administration sent a rescission request to Congress asking for $15.4 billion from the 2018 budget it deemed excessive. Of that $15.4 billion the administration is requesting Congress cut $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
May 11, 2018 11:38 pm

Local residents oppose part of President Donald Trump’s attempt to cut federal spending that calls for Congress to rescind $7 billion from a Medicaid program aimed at children.

The Trump administration used budget maneuver called rescission — a request of Congress to cut spending in certain areas following the passage of a budget. Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending plan, which was signed by Trump in late March.

“At the direction of President Trump, the Office of Management and Budget has worked diligently to identify wasteful and unnecessary spending already approved by Congress,” according to a statement from Russ Vought, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. “President Trump will send Congress a $15.4 billion rescissions request, the largest ever using this authority.”

Of the $15.4 billion to be cut, $7 billion will come from the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program. The spending plan passed this year included an additional four-year extension of funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, from 2024 through 2027, on top of a six-year extension that Congress approved in January after Congress allowed funding for the program to lapse as budget debates raged.

“To cut CHIP is beyond human; it is mammalian to look out for your young,” said Justin Hova, of Hudson. “How many people with children talk about access money? There are a million ways that $7 billion can be applied.”

Regina Doebler, of Catskill, is familiar with CHIP from working for Columbia Memorial Health, where she retired four years ago.

“A lot of people who worked at the hospital and are paid entry-level wages count on CHIP,” Doebler said. “A lot of them are single mothers who can easily get insurance for themselves, but family coverage is expensive. I think they should leave the program alone. Who is our future?”

Linda Brenner, of Putnam County, opposed any cuts to children’s programs.

“Absolutely no cuts to child programs,” Brenner said. “Children should be the priority.”

Nearly nine million children are insured by the program, which has had bipartisan support since its creation in 1997.

“The CHIP program is a critical tool for many New York families,” said U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-19. “I supported the longest extension of the program in its history and I am currently reviewing the package to ensure that any rescissions will not affect CHIP insurance coverage or payments to the states for the program. It is important to note that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that enactment of this budget rescission will not affect outlays, or the number of individuals with insurance coverage.”

As of April 1, 1,383 are enrolled in New York’s Child Health Plus program, according to the most recent data from the state Department of Health. Greene County has 947 people enrolled in Child Health Plus as of April.

“After passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut that benefits the wealthiest Americans and the biggest, richest corporations the most, Republicans are moving on to their next act: a reprehensible plan to cut the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “The Washington Post says President Trump is proposing cuts to CHIP and Obamacare to ‘temper conservative angst over ballooning budget deficits.’ When donors want giveaways, they write blank checks — but when kids and families need help, they turn their backs.”