The reauthorization of CHIP is now being used as a bargaining tactic in the debate over the government shutdown. A vote is expected on Jan. 22 that may resolve the issue. Update: As part of a bipartisan deal, CHIP has been reauthorized for six years.
Update 1/22: CHIP reauthorization was included in a bipartisan effort to extend the budget deadline and extract a promise from the Senate leader to hold a vote on DACA before Feb. 8. The program is now fully funded for six years.
The continuing resolution passed by Congress last week keeps the federal government funded until December 22, but it provides little more than a band-aid to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While some states are about to run out of funds, this provision only shifts the remaining 2017 funds to the most critical states, without supplying any new money. The highly successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is credited with reducing the number of uninsured children from 14% to 4.5% since its introduction. CHIP works with Medicaid, providing insurance for children in families that earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid. In 2014, more than 27,000 Maine children received health insurance through CHIP. Without reauthorization, Maine will exhaust its funding by June. Reauthorization is especially critical for children with disabilities. A combination of Medicaid and CHIP cover 60% of the 2.9 million children with special health care needs. In the Senate, a clean reauthorization bill cleared committee with bipartisan support, but has yet to be brought to the floor for a vote. The House also passed its own reauthorization (supported by Bruce Poliquin), but is unlikely to get the bipartisan support it needs because it funds CHIP by requiring some seniors to pay more for Medicare and by cutting ACA funding. A new bill, sponsored by Chellie Pingree, would extend CHIP funding for five years, and cover the cost by shifting the timing of payments to Medicaid Advantage and Part D plans. With a Dec. 22 budget deadline looming, voting on both bills is imminent.
Call your MoC! Thank Pingree for co-sponsoring H.R. 4541. If you live in CD2, ask Poliquin to support it. Tell Collins and King to make sure the Senate’s CHIP reauthorization:
- Extends CHIP funding for at least 5 years.
- Maintains current CHIP policy to ensure coverage, eligibility levels, and cost-sharing protections remain intact.
- Does not include any cuts, caps, or changes to Medicaid or the ACA.