By Sept. 30, members of Congress were responsible for providing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Unfortunately, Congress did not meet this deadline, putting the health and well-being of millions of children at risk.

Funded jointly by state and federal governments, CHIP has received strong bipartisan support since its creation in 1997. Combined, Medicaid and CHIP have helped bring down the uninsured rate among children to an all-time low—4.5 percent. However, despite historical bipartisan support for CHIP, Congress was not able to move forward legislation that extends funding for the program before the Sept. 30 deadline. In a recent blog post by the National Academy for State Health Policy, the author outlined the contingency planning that certain states may undertake in the event that CHIP funding runs out. Such plans include transitioning CHIP-eligible children to either Medicaid or marketplace coverage. These decisions do not happen with a turn of a switch and involve layers of coordination among various state agencies, programs, and systems. Furthermore, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission projects that all states will run out of CHIP funding within the year, with Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, and North Carolina projected to exhaust their respective CHIP funds by December 2017.

Recently, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate. The Keep Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017 (S. 1827) extends funding for CHIP for additional five years, through the 2022 fiscal year. The Alliance supports this measure. However, a committee vote has not been scheduled. In the House, the details of a bill have not been unveiled, but the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that a bill would be marked up Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Inform the Alliance’s Office of Public Policy and Mobilization if you are hearing any information pertaining to children’s coverage in your state by emailing Carla Plaza, director of public policy and government relations with any information. Information collected will help us underscore the urgency to fund this vital children’s coverage program to members of Congress next week.   CHIP programs are branded by different names in each state, such as MinnesotaCare in Minnesota, BadgerCare Plus in Wisconsin, Health Choice in North Carolina, KidsCare in Arizona, etc. Identify the name your state's CHIP program online.

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