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Children’s Health Insurance Program Provides Critical, Low-cost Health Care For 330K Kids In NY State, Nearly 20K In Capital Region, & 8K Children In Glens Falls Hospital’s Service Area 

In 2015, Schumer Successfully Pushed Congress To Extend CHIP Finding And Preserved Health Care Plans That Low- To Moderate- Income Families Depend On  

Schumer: Ensuring Our Kids Can Get Treatment They Need Should Not Be A Partisan Issue 

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer visited Glens Falls Hospital to launch a new effort to push Congress to promptly extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is set to expire later this year. Schumer said, without congressional action, more than 8,000 children in the Glens Falls Hospital Service Area, nearly 20,000 children in the Capital Region, and over 330,000 children in New York State would face losing affordable health care that working families in Capital Region, specifically those who are not eligible for Medicaid, rely on.

“When it comes to something as important as health care, we cannot allow a situation to arise in which children cannot get the checkup or prescription they need because their family cannot afford the payments or insurance,” said Senator Schumer.  “Allowing this program's funding to expire is simply unacceptable and I will be pushing my colleagues in Congress to pass an extension without delay. No family should ever have to make the agonizing decision between taking their child to the doctor and footing the cost of exorbitant medical bills they cannot afford. We must extend CHIP and keep an essential piece of our affordable health care puzzle in place.”

Schumer explained that if Congress does not act to extend the program millions of children nationwide and close to 20,000 children in the Capital Region alone would lose their insurance. He added that for qualifying families CHIP is what allows them to make ends meet. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a federal-state partnership that allows middle class families to access affordable health care coverage for their children. Specifically, the CHIP program provides coverage for families whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid; a family of four, for example, making under $95,400 per year, but above the poverty level, qualifies for CHIP. It is a federal funding stream, Schumer said, that provides states with the money needed to support their individual state programs and saves hard-working families across New York State hundreds of dollars a year on doctors’ visits and prescriptions. New York State’s CHIP-funded program, Child Health Plus, is able to deliver a critical low-cost health care option for hundreds of thousands of moderate-income and low income children and pregnant women across the state every year because of these federal funds. CHIP helps cover more than 9 million children and pregnant women.

In the counties that Glens Falls Hospital serves there are a number of CHIP enrollees.

  • In Albany County there are 4,644 CHIP enrollees
  • In Essex County there are 782 CHIP Enrollees
  • In Hamilton County there are 78 CHIP enrollees
  • In Rensselaer County there are 2,669 CHIP enrollees
  • In Saratoga County there are 4,186 CHIP enrollees
  • In Schenectady County there are 3,207 CHIP enrollees
  • In Warren County there are 1,447 CHIP
  • In Washington County 1,648 CHIP enrollees

New Yorkers eligible for this program can sign up for Child Health Plus through New York State and then receive these vital health services through a private insurance provider’s plan. In 2015, the federal CHIP program contributed 65 percent of the funding needed to support New York State’s Child Health Plus program, which is approximately $34.5 million per month. New York State’s contribution to the Child Health Plus program was approximately $18.6 million per month, or the remaining 35 percent. Schumer said that, because Child Health Plus received such a significant portion of its funding—roughly $414 million—from the federal CHIP program, the families of the nearly 330,000 children across New York State and close to 20,000 across the Capital Region that rely on these CHIP funds could be forced to pay skyrocketing premiums if the federal funding expires.  While the CHIP program is authorized through 2019, no new funding is available after fiscal year 2017.

Under the current program, CHIP provides comprehensive coverage, including routine check-ups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescriptions, dental and vision care, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, laboratory and X-ray services, and emergency services. While the health premium costs are different in each state, under the CHIP guidelines, no enrollee is required to pay more than 5 percent of their family's income for the year. New York State's Child Health Plus program allows children 6 to 18 years of age who fall between 150-400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to pay a monthly fee lower than $9 per child.

Schumer was joined by Dianne Shugrue, President & CEO of Glens Falls Hospital; Dr. Kevin Gallagher, Chief Medical Information Officer and a primary care provider at the hospital’s Granville Family Health Center; Council President Dan Hall and Kate Breslin, President & CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

“Programs like CHIP play a critical role in making health care accessible to all children. In addition to the Glens Falls Hospital campus, we operate 10 regional primary care centers to provide greater access to quality care. CHIP ensures families and children surviving near the poverty level can utilize those sites and services and receive the health care they need,” said Dianne Shugrue, President and CEO of Glens Falls Hospital.  “I applaud Senator Schumer for understanding the importance of this funding and join him in urging lawmakers to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program.  Families deserve the peace of mind that their children’s coverage is secure.”

In 2015, Schumer led the charge to extend CHIP funding, known as Child Health Plus in New York, and saved New York State from losing an estimated $414 million in federal funds. Schumer’s new push comes as the debate over the CHIP program is set to begin. Schumer said our children’s health should not be a partisan issue and that failure to extend this critical program is not acceptable, especially with nearly 9 million children across the country relying on Congress to act.