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Senate to Vote on Funding CHIP for Five Additional Years

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill that would fund CHIP for five more years should it pass through official votes in the House and Senate.

Senate Finance Committee approves bill to fund CHIP for five years

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- A bipartisan bill to continue CHIP funding for five more years and transition to a state-federal partnership will move to a Senate vote after being approved by the Senate Finance Committee.  

The “Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017’’ (KIDS Act) would extend CHIP funding through fiscal year (FY) 2022, maintain and federal matching rate at current statutory levels through FY 2019.  The bill would later change the rate to 11.5 percent for FY 2020, and return to a traditional CHIP matching rate for fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

The bill also provides protections and flexibility for CHIP funding under the maintenance-of-effort provision. CHIP funding ended September 30th even though the program is running through October 1st of 2019.

Legislators in the Senate Finance Committee are urging lawmakers to pass legislation that reauthorizes funding for the healthcare of millions of children.

“Today’s advancement of the KIDS Act is an important step toward ensuring the children and families who rely on CHIP do not see a lapse in health coverage,” Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) said.

“Extending funding for CHIP has been a top priority of this committee, and I am pleased to see the committee advance this policy today.  I will continue to work with Ranking Member (Ron) Wyden (D-OR) and my colleagues to further advance this bill in a fiscally responsible manner to provide certainty for this critical, bipartisan program.”

The KIDS bill, if enacted, would also extend the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund, the Childhood Obesity Demonstration, and continue the Pediatric Quality Measures program.

A similar bill developing the House Energy and Commerce committee also aims to continue CHIP funding, and would additionally delay the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts for FY 2018, add two more years of cuts for 2026 and 2027, and provide $1 billion in Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico.

Other changes to Medicaid in the house bill include third party liability and treatment of lottery winnings and other income eligibility rules under Medicaid, as well as adjustments to Medicare Part B and Part D premium subsidies for higher-income individuals.

CHIP covers 8.9 million children with family incomes above Medicaid eligibility limits who lack access to affordable private coverage.

While the program is authorized through Oct. 1, 2019, further legislative action is needed to reauthorize funding.

“Today the Finance Committee has taken an important and decisive step towards extending funding for CHIP,” Ranking Member Ron Wyden said.

“Congress must get a CHIP bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible – every day that goes by without action means more harmful consequences for families and states. I look forward to working with Chairman Hatch and members on both sides of the aisle to get CHIP across the finish line for kids and their families.”

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