WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) praised committee passage of the bipartisan Keeping Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act, legislation that extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Portman released the following statement:

I am pleased the Senate Finance Committee acted today to protect a vital program that helps 219,000 Ohio kids and nine million children nationwide get high-quality health coverage. With Ohio’s CHIP funding set to run out by the end of this year, it is critical that the Senate move quickly to extend this funding so that children and families who rely on this program are not left behind and so that low-income kids can reach their God-given potential.”

Below are excerpts of Portman’s remarks at the Finance hearing on CHIP as well as other of his key legislative priorities. A video can be found here.

PORTMAN ON CHIP

“I’m really glad we got CHIP passed through the committee today. I hope we can get that through the floor. It’s a vital program for Ohio. 219,000 Ohio kids are now covered through the CHIP program. And according to our Ohio folks, the Medicaid director in Ohio is going to deplete our CHIP funding by the end of this calendar year. So it’s urgent that we do move quickly and extend this funding to ensure these low-income kids continue to have access to high quality health coverage just as you intended, Mr. Chairman, over the years as you’ve worked on this.”

PORTMAN ON THE MIECHV PROGRAM

“The MIECHV program is very important to Ohio. This is the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. This is one that is working. It helps provide family support through evidenced-based home visiting programs. It’s saving costs, it’s increasing quality, and I hope we could reauthorize that.”

PORTMAN ON THE CRIB ACT

There’s legislation that Senator Brown and I have filed called the Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act. CRIB is important right now because of this increased number of babies who are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. This is because of this opioid crisis we have in this country… We do think this is very important, including being able to free up high-demand NICU beds for the treatment of newborns and babies that have other kids of higher acuity. We think this is a positive bill for the taxpayer as well as being able to take better care of these babies and deal with our opioid crisis.”

PORTMAN ON THE ACE KIDS ACT

About six percent of children with complex medical issues in this country spend about 40 percent of the Medicaid dollars. And there’s a much more cost effective way, and again focusing on quality, a better way for these kids to give them the health care coverage that they need. It’s basically allowing coordination care between providers. In Ohio we’ve done this. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has been a leader on this. We believe that we will not only be able to improve coordination and care but, again, by allowing states to have this option, to create these pediatric homes in Medicaid will save taxpayer money over time. I would hope we could move forward on the ACE Kids Act.”

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