The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is vital for children. Together, CHIP and Medicaid provide health care coverage to more than 36 million children. Medicaid provides coverage for over 30 million children, and CHIP builds on that foundation to provide coverage for over 6 million children who are not eligible for Medicaid, but lack access to affordable health coverage. Healthy children grow up to become healthy adults, and CHIP helps ensure that the children covered by it are able to reach their full potential.
CHIP: A Bipartisan Success Story
- CHIP continues to play a critical role in the coverage landscape for children. CHIP was created in 1997 with strong bipartisan support to provide coverage for children who fell above Medicaid eligibility levels, but lacked access to other options. CHIP was designed with children in mind and includes child-appropriate benefits, access to pediatric providers and cost-sharing limits to protect vulnerable children and families.
- CHIP, together with Medicaid, has brought the rate of uninsured U.S. children to an all-time low, with 95 percent of all children insured. Current federal funding for CHIP is slated to expire at the end of FY 2017. If CHIP is not extended beyond 2017, many CHIP-enrolled children will likely become underinsured or uninsured altogether, threatening our nation's historic gains in insuring children over the past two decades.
Congress Must Act Now to Protect Children
- Congress must act now to enact a long-term CHIP extension to give states and families the certainty they need. State budget cycles and regulations make it difficult for states to maintain their CHIP programs in the absence of federal funding certainty. Without a guarantee that CHIP funding will be extended, states may take action to disenroll children, impose lock-outs and waiting periods, or wind down their programs altogether. To ensure maximum stability for children, families and states, Congress should enact a five-year extension of current policy. A five-year extension of CHIP is supported by the National Governors Association and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.
- Pediatric Quality Improvement. Any CHIP extension should also continue funding for the Pediatric Quality Measures Program, the only significant federal investment in pediatric health care quality. Pediatric quality efforts lead to improved care and lower costs for families and purchasers of care, such as state and federal governments.