Yesterday, as part of a continuing resolution to end the government shutdown and to keep government funded, the House and Senate finally passed legislation extending CHIP for six years.
While this is a huge relief to families of the 9 million children who rely on CHIP for their health care coverage, the extension is long overdue. The past 114 days have brought uncertainty to families who have been planning for the worst in the event CHIP funding runs out and the program expires. Since its inception, CHIP has always been an extremely popular and successful program with broad bipartisan support. The well-being of 9 million children nationwide (over 180,000 across Pennsylvania and 14,000 in Allegheny County) should never have been a bargaining chip in Congress’ negotiations.
The bill passed yesterday extends CHIP through federal fiscal year 2023. Yesterday’s bill requires no offsets or “payfors” to fund CHIP. The CBO’s most recent scoring of CHIP revealed that because of the tax bill’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, CHIP will actually save the federal government money – a six-year extension is projected to save $980 million. Advocates had been hoping Congress would extend the program for 10 years, thus saving $6 billion and providing security to families and states. Congress could potentially return to the issue and extend the program an additional four years. Additional specifics, including details regarding the maintenance of effort provisions and enhanced match rate can be found in Georgetown Center for Children and Families’ blog post.
For now, families can breathe a sigh of relief knowing CHIP will remain intact for the long-term.
Thank you to all of you who shared your stories and fought to get this crucial program reauthorized!