CHIP Renewal by Congress Needed Soon | $name

CHIP Renewal

CHIP Renewal by Congress Needed Soon

Mon, Sep 25, 2017  -  Comments (0)  -   Posted by Michele Fancher

There’s a lot going on right now, to put it mildly, with healthcare at the national level. But in the midst of yet another attempt by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s important not to lose sight of another initiative that needs attention, and soon – CHIP renewal. CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, has been in place since 1997 and covers 8.9 million children nationwide. Though CHIP is authorized to run through September 2019, funding for the program is set to expire at the end of this month and an extension by Congress is required for CHIP renewal.

On Sept. 18, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the KIDS Act, which would renew CHIP through fiscal year 2022. Generally, the program has had broad support over the years but as contentious as the Hill is in Washington these days, it isn’t safe to make any assumptions regarding the bill’s passage.

A Failed Extension Would Put States in Bind

CHIP can look a little different from state to state. Some provide it through a separate program, some through a CHIP-funded Medicaid expansion, and some through a combination of both approaches. Under the Affordable Care Act maintenance-of-effort requirement, those, like Ohio, that run their CHIP program as an extension of Medicaid would be required to maintain this coverage, even if federal funding goes away. And compounding this financial predicament, state costs associated with the program would increase since they would receive the lower federal Medicaid match rate. Currently, the federal government pays almost 97 percent of costs of services provided under CHIP. This would drop to 63 percent, which is the federal share of the state’s Medicaid costs.

There are 10 states that expect to exhaust their funding for the program by the end of this year and another 22, including Ohio Medicaid, that anticipate running out during the first quarter of 2018. As in most other states, the state budget in Ohio, which runs through June, relies on federal funding for this population and will face a shortfall if the program is not extended. This leaves little time for states to plan for what to do should if Congress fails on the CHIP renewal front.

CHIP Renewal is Crucial to Millions of American Kids

It may be obvious to say so, but the program is important. Since CHIP’s enactment, the share of uninsured children in the U.S. fell from 13.9% in 1997 to 4.5% in 2015. Nearly 4 in 10 children nationwide – almost 35.7 million kids – receive their healthcare coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. In Ohio, more than 1.15 million children are enrolled and receive coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. Given the number of children who depend on it, as well as the detrimental impact discontinued CHIP funding would have on states, it’s crucial for members of Congress to make CHIP renewal a priority.

Some are predicting CHIP renewal will happen. Let’s hope so.

Posted in Medicaid
About the Author

Michele Fancher

After graduating from THE Ohio State University and spending 17 years living in Ohio, I relocated a few years back to the Boston area. But I left my heart in the Buckeye State and I’m thrilled to remain a part of The Center for Health Affairs and the vibrant healthcare community in Northeas...

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