Congress failed to reauthorize a program last week that gives children from lower-income families a lifeline to medical care: The Children’s Health Insurance Program, better known as CHIP, expired Saturday. Now there’s a scramble, both in Congress and in the states, over how to maintain the coverage.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell are on the committee that will decide; read a full report here.
The top Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee last month announced they’d reached an agreement to renew CHIP. The proposal by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would continue funding at 2017 levels for another two years, with reductions in future years.
“We currently expect funding to last at least through January, and we are hopeful that Congress will pass the Hatch-Wyden bill making its way through the Senate that would extend CHIP funding,” Niki Forbing-Orr, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokeswoman, told the Idaho Statesman. “If funding is not extended, we do have contingency plans for maintaining children’s coverage.” The contingency plan is to move children from CHIP onto Medicaid, she said.