“It was very hard to get answers to our questions,” said Cathy Caldwell, who oversees the CHIP program in Alabama and, like many state officials, is scrambling to figure out when they must begin cutting children from CHIP coverage.

As it works to roll back the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is letting crucial state health initiatives languish, frustrating a growing number of state leaders, including several from solidly Republican states.

Last week, Oklahoma’s health secretary sent a blistering letter to senior administration officials, taking them to task for failing to approve a plan state officials drew up to protect their consumers from large rate hikes.

“The lack of timely waiver approval will prevent thousands of Oklahomans from realizing the benefits of significantly lower insurance premiums,” Terry Cline wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.

Health officials in other states say the federal health agency for months provided little help as they tried to plan for the expiration of federal funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Money for the program, which covers nearly 9 million children, has begun to lapse because Congress failed to hit a deadline of Sept. 30 to renew the program, something lawmakers still hope to accomplish this year.

Click to continue reading. By Noam N. Levey – Contact Reporter – on October 6, 2017.

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