Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Funding is Critical for Kids | $name

Children’s Health Insurance Program

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Funding is Critical for Kids

Fri, Sep 22, 2017  -  Comments (0)  -   Posted by Kirstin Craciun

We are running out of days in September, which means there are a limited number of days left to ensure that access to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) remains intact. This program is popular with the public and typically garners bipartisan support.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created with passage of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997. This joint federal/state program is designed to provide increased access to health coverage for children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private coverage.

While CHIP was created at the federal level, states have flexibility in how they design their programs. States may expand their Medicaid programs, create a separate state program, or create a program that combines Medicaid and CHIP. Ohio implemented CHIP as a Medicaid expansion of the Healthy Start program.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program Matters to Kids

Almost 9 million children across the U.S. have coverage through CHIP. How successful has it been at decreasing the uninsured rate? The chart below shows how Ohio Medicaid, CHIP and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have contributed to uninsured rates among children reaching historically low rates of 95 percent nationwide and 96 percent in Ohio. That’s impressive! But we won’t maintain these coverage gains without an extension of CHIP funding.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Funding is Critical for Kids
Source: Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the American Academy of Pediatrics

In addition to the benefits that CHIP’s comprehensive health coverage provides to covered children, there are additional benefits that extend beyond what we traditionally think about. Medicaid and CHIP have been shown to not just decrease uninsured rates, but to also play a role in long-term positive outcomes in educational attainment, school performance, health and even economic success.

The Clock is Ticking

So what’s the rush? Unlike funding for Medicaid, CHIP funding is a block grant and funding for CHIP is set to expire when the federal fiscal year ends (yikes – that’s September 30, 2017!) unless the program is reauthorized by Congress. Without continued federal funding we can expect Ohio’s CHIP funds to be exhausted March 2018, according to Voices for Ohio’s Children.

Considering the significant strides that have been made under this policy, it is imperative that lawmakers and health advocates ensure their conversations include the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP has been instrumental in decreasing the number of uninsured children in Ohio and across the country. Continued funding to support this vital program is necessary.

Posted in Medicaid
About the Author

Kirstin Craciun

I grew up in Canada where access to healthcare for all citizens is a core principle. I bring that thinking to the work I do as The Center for Health Affairs’ director of community outreach. I spend my days helping Northeast Ohio hospitals assess health needs in the community; develop collab...

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