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Is it better than nothing, Birmingham? Thanks to a temporary bill passed by Congress last week, Alabama decided not to freeze CHIP enrollments on January 1, 2018. The move also means coverage won’t stop for enrollees after February 1.
The Hill reports that Alabama’s CHIP program will continue, at least for now. The state earlier announced that it would no longer accept new enrollees as of Jan. 1, because of the lack of funding from Congress.
“With the continuing resolution passed by Congress on December 21, 2017, ALL Kids will not freeze enrollment on January 1, 2018 nor terminate coverage on February 1, 2018, so we will not be sending out notices to enrollees this week,” Cathy Caldwell, the director of Alabama’s Bureau of Children’s Health Insurance, wrote in an email, according to The Hill.
Caldwell added that the funding should last for an additional three to four weeks, with the the hopes that Congress will pass full, long-term funding for CHIP early in January, she wrote.
The Senate voted after midnight on Wednesday to pass a gigantic $1.5 trillion tax bill. What’s in it, and why did the House have to vote on it again?
Tax bill in an nutshell
Today the House passed the tax bill in a final vote after a procedural slip up sent the bill back to the floor for a second vote. It’s the biggest change to our nation’s tax code in 30 years.
The bill cuts tax rates for corporations, provides new breaks for private businesses and reorganizes the individual tax code.
“After eight straight years of slow growth and underperformance, America is ready to take off,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the vote.
A product of negotiations
House and Senate Republicans negotiated Republican goals, and they’ve wanted them for awhile. Those goals include: a permanent reduction in the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. Supporters of the corporate tax rate reduction argue that it will make American business more competitive overseas.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis, applauded the bill on NBC’s “Today”.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of how much they benefit,” he said.
The bill will “put the American economy in a better position,” Ryan said, because “workers benefit, wages go up.”
“This is a big tax cut for families as well,” he said.
Many pass-through businesses are set to receive a more complicated 20 percent deduction. What’s a pass-through business? More on that here.
If you are a small-business owner, this deduction could affect you. Check this out to see if your business qualifies.
This deduction started a fiery debate after the final bill added a provision likely to benefit real estate companies. Those against this provision argue that the deduction will benefit real estate companies, like the ones President Trump owns.
What about CHIP?
States (including Alabama) have already run out of money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP. The program expired September 30. Alabama plans to end enrollment on January 1. By February 1, over 80,000 Alabama children are set to lose health insurance, unless Congress renews the program.
During a press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said a short-term funding patch for CHIP could happen.
Congress continues to disagree on how to pay for the program. Pelosi added that talks are continuing.
“They might do a CHIP patch,” she said, referring to the Republican majority.
The California Democrat also criticized that strategy, saying that a short-term solution is not the right answer.
“We should be doing proper pay-fors to provide certainty to provide healthcare to our children,” she said.