Alabama calls off freeze to children's health insurance

Alabama will no longer freeze enrollment for children's health insurance on Jan. 1, thanks to new temporary funding passed by Congress, the state said Wednesday. 

The stopgap spending bill that lawmakers passed last week gives the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) $2.85 billion in temporary funding. The move was intended to tide over states that were running low on funding due to Congress's failure to pass a long-term funding measure for the program. 

Alabama had earlier announced that it would no longer accept new enrollees as of Jan. 1, because of the lack of funding from Congress. While the state is calling off that step, it warned that lawmakers still need to take action soon.

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Leaders: Investing in kids before age 2 yields biggest benefits

Timothy Jones, pastor of Peaceful Rest Missionary Baptist Church, and his church community already understand the importance of early education.

The church built a $2 million learning center five years ago that offers free, high-quality child care to about 20 low-income families with children between 4 months and 4 years old.

"We discovered that perhaps the greatest need was during the formative years, so we built the learning center. The children are our future in a very real way," Jones said. 

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State Medicaid executive: The future of CHIP is unknown

In 2016, 8.9 million children were enrolled in CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program that has been in place for two decades. Now, Congress is struggling to agree on a funding plan to keep the program going.

“The CHIP program is a program funded by the federal government which allows us here in Washington to cover children with a little bit higher income than our Medicaid program. So in Washington we cover children between 250 percent of the federal poverty level and up to 312 percent of the federal poverty level,” said Mary Wood, the assistant director for the Division of Medicaid Eligibility and Community Support, on KIRO Radio’s Seattle Morning News.

For example, the children in a family of five would qualify for free healthcare if the family’s gross monthly income is less than $3,694. Children in a family of four would qualify for free care if the family’s gross monthly income is less than $3,153.

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Want to set your child up for lifelong health? Go with your gut

Every year, about 120 million children around the world develop pneumonia and about 1.8 million children under 5 die of the disease. But that number may be about to come down, thanks to the work of researchers affiliated with two children's hospitals in Pennsylvania and Ohio. They found that cultivating healthy gut bacteria in newborn mice strengthened their lungs' ability to fight off pneumonia.

It stands to reason that the same is true for humans. And that shouldn't be surprising. Scientists have long known that an infant's microbiome – including bacteria, fungi, and viruses – has an outsized impact on the child’s health and immunity, even into adulthood.

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Concern statewide over the future of CHIP

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- A temporary spending plan to finance the federal government has raised a lot of concern about children's health care across the country.

The stopgap bill federal lawmakers passed Friday provides a temporary solution to critical funding needs for some states, but not Pennsylvania.

For some parents who don't quality for Medicaid of cannot afford the cost of their employer's insurance, the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is the best solution.

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How about health care as a gift for kids — let's pass CHIP this season

Yes, it is a timely and uplifting effort to raise money for children for toys for the holidays. But what they need is health care.

Nearly three months after the lapse of federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Congress hurriedly voted to extend its funding and to avert government shutdown.

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How states are coping with uncertainty of kids' health money

Examples of how states have been reacting to the threat of running out of federal money for the Children's Health Insurance Program. It was unclear how their plans might change with the short-term federal funds Congress approved Thursday.

-Arizona: More than 24,000 children covered. Current funding was expected to run out by the end of December. Could shift children to Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, which reimburses states at a lower rate than the children's health program does. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey hinted he could use state funds to continue coverage, perhaps costing $80 million.

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For Children, A Good Booger Joke Helps The Medicine Go Down

Dr. Howard Bennett creates elaborate Lego sculptures, juggles squishy balls during office visits and transforms exam gloves into water balloons, but it's his booger and fart jokes that crack up even his grumpiest pediatric patients.

"Kids of any age are curious about their bodies," the pediatrician writes in his latest book, The Fantastic Body: What Makes You Tick & How You Get Sick, "especially if what they're learning about is gross! That's why kids laugh hysterically if someone tells a booger joke or lets out a big, juicy fart in class."

Bennett, who practices in Washington, D.C., has been writing about children's health for years, in books and in a column for The Washington Post. The Fantastic Bodyincludes fun facts about lice, pimples, warts and other nasty stuff, but he also explains to children how muscles work, how you digest food, what's going on inside your brain and heart, how to treat common ailments and how to avoid getting sick in the first place. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Ending CHIP will permit chronic conditions to grow in prevalence

This fall, a decade-long campaign to trim federal health spending managed to successfully disrupt federal health care programs.

Unfortunately, the target fell on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers (CHCs), and chronic disease prevention programs.

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States say short-term funding not enough for children’s health

State governments are warning that the short-term funding for a critical children’s health program approved by Congress on Thursday may be too little and too late.

Warning letters in at least three states have already been sent to families saying they could lose coverage for their children come Jan. 31 without new funding from Congress. Even if the new funding keeps their programs afloat, it sends a negative message to enrollees and that could cause long-term implications, experts say. 

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