Fox 40 WICZ  |  October 25, 2017  |  Jonathan Gordon

Representatives from Citizen Action of New York, Lourdes Hospital, and Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network are urging members of Congress to save two important health care programs. They focused on Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funding and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which have a renewal deadline of October 1.

“We’re here today to call on Congress to get back to work and reach a bi-partisan solution for these vital programs,” said Mark Clark, Citizen Action of New York.

According to Citizen Action, New York State will see a $330 million reduction in funding this year if DSH is cut. The Organization adds that the cuts will increase to $1 billion annually by 2022.

“Lourdes get over $4 million a year, UHS gets $10 million a year and this goes to programs that provide services to the uninsured, under-insured, and people that are having difficulties,” said Clark.

Lourdes Hospital runs a program called, 340B, which provides prescription drugs at a discounted price. Through Federal Government funding, eligible hospitals receive pharmaceuticals at discounted prices from drug companies and then use the savings to benefit the community.

“It’s very concerning all the way around just to see these Federal resources being cut at no impact on taxpayers at all,” said Dwayne Cleveland, Lourdes Hospital 340B Program Manager.

The other program, CHIP provides health services to children from birth to 19 years old is also at risk of losing funding. Clark says there are 2,700 children in Broome County and 350,000 across New York State who could lose their health insurance by the end of the year.

“The money has run out as of October 1 and these programs won’t be continued if the money is not re-appropriated,” said Clark.

Programs in the Southern Tier, like Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network, which helps people and families apply for health insurance programs, could also be at risk if funding isn’t extended.

“Family premiums are unaffordable and in addition to the premiums, the other out of pocket costs that come with employer-sponsored coverage is just out of the income range of a lot of our families,” said Theresa Kaschak, Mothers and Babies Health Insurance Director. “Child Health Plus is an affordable option for them and I would fear that children would go uninsured because families just couldn’t afford to do it.”

One Binghamton single-mother of two has previously benefited from the CHIP program and doesn’t know what she or other parents would do if it were cut.

“It was critical for us because it was at a time in our life where I didn’t have the funds myself and I know that other families are going through that,” said Amanda Eggleton, Mother of two.

According to the United Hospital Fund, Broome County saw an 11.5% increase in CHIP enrollment from July 2016 to July 2017. There was a 29.8% increase in Chenango, a 25.8% increase in Tioga, a 23.2% increase in Delaware, and a 17% increase across the state. Currently, there are 347,855 children covered under the program.