Concerns grow after Congress allows CHIP to expire

Adjust Comment Print

Yet Congress, being Congress, has put the progress by Florida and other states in jeopardy by failing to meet a September 30 deadline for extending CHIP - despite a history of bipartisan support for the program.

Created in 1997 from the ashes of President Bill Clinton's failed health care reform plan, it provides health insurance coverage for about 9 million children nationwide whose families make too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance on their own. CHIP is funded 88 percent by federal funds, which cover both CHP+ and Medicaid recipients.

Matt Highland, a state Department of Human Services official, said Iowa has enough money to last through March.

Efforts are expected to begin in the House this week, to hopefully prevent long-term financial problems for those who depend on CHIP.

While Congress focused on unsuccessful efforts to repeal the ACA, the CHIP reauthorization deadline was allowed to expire Saturday without any congressional action. And virtually all states budgeted for CHIP dollars that are now in limbo. Every state works with their Medicaid program to offer CHIP for all its residents and approximately nine million kids in the USA are covered by CHIP. As the states largest Medicaid provider, St. Lukes likely is the largest provider of health care to CHIP patients as well, he said.

"Those are also children of working families within certain poverty guidelines that need health insurance coverage", Highland said. But until Congress renews CHIP, states are cut off from additional federal funding that helps lower- and middle-income families. "The costs are different in each state, but you won't have to pay more than 5% of your family's income for the year". Over the last 20 years the rate of uninsured children has gone from 20 percent to 2.4 percent. It also offers prenatal care to about 36,000 pregnant women in Texas.

So, if Congress doesn't act to re-authorize CHIP funding, the state could be looking at a significant cost shift, and in some instances the state will be required to cover a certain population of children, and we will see an increase in state costs. "That's why they didn't just immediately agree and extend the funding".

"Routine "well child" doctor and dental visits are free under CHIP". Orrin Hatch and the late Ted Kennedy in the 1990s, allows children who fall above the Medicaid threshold to obtain low-priced health insurance. Pennsylvania was one of 10 states national experts thought might run out of funds by end of this year.

KHNs coverage of childrens health care issues is supported in part by a grant from The Heising-Simons Foundation.

Congress has not yet acted to reauthorize and fund it.

Capito said strong, bipartisan support for re-authorization is cause for confidence CHIP will be continued as the bill is worked and reworked in the Senate Finance Committee through Tuesday.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-OR, announced late last week that the committee will markup a bill to extend federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, community health centers and other health programs next week.

If CHIP gets its funding back, it would be extended for five years - but the program could run out as soon as December in states like including Arizona, Minnesota, and North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

Comments