La Chip program is up for re-authorization

Posted October 05, 2017

Toomey cited a finding by the Congressional Research Service that found since 2009 $42 billion, originally allocated by Congress for health insurance for children, but unspent, had been redirected to be be used on unrelated programs through the appropriations process.

USA lawmakers missed a deadline over the weekend to reauthorize a health insurance program that covers millions of children.

"Tens of thousands of Montana families rely on the Children's Health Insurance Program for their children to have health coverage", he said in a statement. The federal government pays most of CHIP's funding, with the states chipping in a bit. The Kaiser Family Foundation said last month that it surveyed states and that 10 replied they would run out of funding by the end of the year. CHIP has been in this fix only one other time since it was established in 1997.

CHIP's authorization expired on Sunday.

They could eventually, but not immediately.

With federal money gone, state funding is expected to run out in February, just as cold and flu season rolls around. The state is already preparing to send out termination notices for coverage.

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"It puts a gap in the state's budget", Piper said.

However, Minnesota was among those most imperiled because it had spent all its funds. The program's federal funding expired on September 30.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act may be deeply divisive, but there's one aspect of the health care system that retains broad support across the political spectrum - the Children's Health Insurance Program. Though most states will have money left over to keep CHIP going minimally for the next few months, they are preparing contingency plans as most kids on CHIP will eventually become uninsured if nothing is done. "Without that access to have health insurance for kids, kids will find it harder to get that access they need." said Carlson.

The law does allow the use of unspent funds from prior years, so states are now relying on those accounts. But, so far, it's continuing business as usual.

More children in the state are eligible for early care and learning than now receive it due to limited resources, she says.

HO: The federal match for the CHIP program varies, depending on what part of the program we're talking about.

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Members of the two congressional committees overseeing the program, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, are now negotiating a deal on CHIP.

Patrick Peer, CEO of Community Health Center of Northeast Oklahoma in Afton, said he expects Congress to pass an extension, but that isn't the only reason he isn't rushing to finalize a contingency plan. About 340,000 Texan children ineligible for Medicaid are covered under CHIP, and another 249,000 Texan children on Medicaid benefit from CHIP's 92 percent matching rate. So the generally bipartisan support for CHIP was complicated by the GOP's unyielding belief that everything associated with ObamaCare is unacceptable and must go. "If they don't want to pay, they don't have to enroll into Medicare", Upton said.

The CHIP issue came up during a U.S. House Rules Committee hearing last week on another piece of legislation, a bill that addressed reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration and created tax breaks for victims of the recent spate of hurricanes striking the country.

The funding renewal was not a priority among Republican leaders, who have spent most of this year trying to replace the Affordable Care Act and dramatically overhaul the Medicaid program.

The bottom line: It is critical that Congress renew federal funding for CHIP and stop political budget games that hurt vulnerable families and children across America and North Carolina. States have the option to cover pregnant women, and 18 plus the District of Columbia do so. Two separate state programs are now in jeopardy.

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