• Talking Points
  • March 13, 2015

Extend Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

  • Congress must enact an extension of CHIP which preserves successful underlying policies that have advanced child health coverage and access to care for nearly two decades. Children’s hospitals recommend a four-year, current-law extension as soon as possible. Any future CHIP extension should continue to:
    • Ensure all children have health coverage and timely access to care when they need it
    • Streamline eligibility and enrollment procedures to reduce red-tape burdens on working families
    • Stabilize the financing structure to provide states predictable and reliable resources
    • Advance the field of pediatric health care quality measurement to improve care and lower costs for families and purchasers of care such as state and federal governments
  • CHIP funding must be extended immediately to avoid coverage disruptions for millions of children in working families this summer and fall. Some states have already indicated that, unless Congress enacts CHIP extension legislation this spring, they must begin preparations for a federal funding shortfall which include communications to families and providers that coverage will be terminated. Pediatric providers, such as children’s hospitals, need to know that CHIP’s future is stable and that coverage disruptions will not interrupt needed care.
  • CHIP funding must be extended immediately to avoid downstream financial impacts on states. In a recent survey by the National Academy of State Health Policy, nearly 75 percent of CHIP directors indicated their governors’ proposed budget assumes federal funding for CHIP will continue in federal fiscal year 2016. If federal matching funds are not available as anticipated, states will be forced to take last-minute actions to terminate coverage, triple their coverage expenses or pass the costs downstream onto providers who cannot absorb further cuts.
  • CHIP is a successful, bipartisan program that has a proven track record meeting the unique needs of children. It was enacted in 1997 on a bipartisan basis and has contributed to the most successful rate of insured children in U.S. history – 93 percent. CHIP is designed with children’s needs in mind, providing children with appropriate pediatric provider networks, a strong set of benefits that cover medically and developmentally appropriate care, and affordable cost-sharing limits. CHIP, along with Medicaid, is the foundation of America’s commitment to providing coverage and access to care for children. Combined, the two programs provided coverage to more than 1 in 3 children in FY 2013. 

Association Contact: Jenny Rudisill, (202) 753-5340