• Talking Points
  • January 22, 2018

CHIP: A Bipartisan Success Story

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plays a critical role in the coverage landscape 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. Although Congress let CHIP funding lapse earlier this year, it acted on January 22 to pass a six-year CHIP extension to give children and families the certainty they need.

  • 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 specifically designed to include child appropriate benefits and access to pediatric providers. CHIP also includes cost-sharing limits to protect vulnerable children and families.
  • Healthy children grow up to become healthy adults, and CHIP helps children reach their full potential. 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. If CHIP had not been extended, many CHIP-enrolled children may lose coverage, threatening our nation’s historic gains in insuring children over the past two decades.

Congress acted to provide long-term stability to CHIP

  • On January 22, Congress passed a six-year CHIP extension. The extension passed with broad bipartisan and bicameral support and retains important policies currently in place, including strong funding for states and vital patient protections, as well as continued funding for the Pediatric Quality Measures program — the only significant federal investment in pediatric health care quality.
  • Federal funding for CHIP expired Oct. 1 and prior to Congress's action to extend the program states were beginning to exhaust all available funds and started to take steps to close down their programs altogether. Some states had already taken steps to notify families that their children's coverage may be ending.

Children's hospitals applaud Congress for passing a strong six-year CHIP bill. This extension will provide maximum stability for the 6 million children who rely on CHIP.