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Still no renewal by Congress of expired programs important to Missouri hospitals

Hospitals in Missouri are facing an increasingly tough financial situation with the failure of Congress to renew key federal programs. Four essential subsidies expired on Oct. 1.

The most prominent of them is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which provides coverage for uninsured children in lower income families who are not eligible for Medicaid. The program covers almost 9 million kids nationally, and close to 90,000 in Missouri.

CHIP itself enjoys strong bipartisan support. It’s thought that three other expired health care programs could be renewed in the same spending package with CHIP.

One of them funds low volume facilities that treat small quantities of people, but whose patients are highly dependent on Medicare. Another assists hospitals with a high volume of patients – more than 60 percent – who receive their care through Medicare. The third, known as the Disproportionate Share Hospital program, or DSH, helps providers that serve the biggest percentage of uninsured people. It’s in an especially precarious position now because of cuts that are scheduled to be imposed.

On Wednesday, House Republicans passed an an extension of CHIP financing at the committee level. Partisan division over how to pay for it could delay Congressional approval.

Read more: Missourinet

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