CHN: Children’s Health Insurance Program Gets Support through March, but Long-Term Funding is Needed
While Congress has yet to come to an agreement on renewing long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers (CHCs), and several other health-related programs, states will have money to continue their CHIP programs thanks to a provision in the stopgap funding measure Congress passed on December 21. It is intended to last through the end of March, but for as many as 11 states, funds may run out sooner, according to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Funding for CHIP expired on September 30, and officials in multiple states have either already notified families or have prepared to notify families that CHIP health insurance coverage may end due to lack of federal funding.
On January 9, the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper, said that reauthorizing CHIP for a decade or more would actually save as much as $6 billion over 10 years. This is because without CHIP in place, more children would be covered by the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges and their parents would receive subsidies to help lower the costs of the private insurance. The CBO estimated that reauthorizing CHIP for five years would cost the government only $800 million.
Advocates fear that Congress’s failure to pass a long-term CHIP bill to date will cause confusion and undue stress for families, and ultimately, loss of coverage if Congress does not act soon. More than 9 million children currently receive health care coverage under CHIP. More than 26 million people visited CHCs at almost 10,000 locations nationwide. For more information on CHIP and other health programs that need to be addressed, including payments to insurance companies (known as cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs), see the December 11 Human Needs Report.