Children's health care is a bipartisan issue, and the CHIP program itself has a legacy of bipartisanship. Still, while both Republicans and Democrats have thus far worked together in reauthorizing the program, partisan politics over the Affordable Care Act and spending on health insurance programs could affect when and for how long the program is extended.
In the near term, both the Senate version of the CHIP Extension Act (S. 2461) and the House version (H.R. 5364) provide a four year extension, through September 2019. States are required to maintain their CHIP efforts through 2019, and the bills would provide continued federal funding throughout that time. The bills would also provide states with incentives to strengthen CHIP programs by enacting initiatives to enroll uninsured children, increase dental care access, and improve services for pregnant women. Without an extension, CHIP funding will expire on September 30, 2015, leaving states without federal funds to provide children access to the specific care, services, and networks that CHIP provides. While advocacy groups are pushing for the 113th Congress to pass a reauthorization bill before the turn of the calendar year to ensure continued coverage, in all likelihood the next Congress will take up the issue in the summer of 2015.
The following bills will likely be re-introduced over the next year:
- H.R. 3931 - Children's Health Insurance Protection (CHIP) Act, sponsored by Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA): would allow the continuation of pre-Affordable Care Act flexibility of states in providing CHIP coverage to low income children, maintaining the income level at 100% of the income official poverty line applicable to a family of the size involved by repealing the increase to 113% of the poverty line scheduled to begin January 1, 2014 . (Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee 2/7/2014)
- H.R. 1698 - Stabilize Medicaid and CHIP Coverage Act, sponsored by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX): would allow a 12-month continuous enrollment of individuals under the Medicaid program and Children's Health Insurance Program. (Referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee 4/26/2013)
- S. 1980 - Medicaid and CHIP Continuous Quality Act of 2014, sponsored by Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV): would allow a 12-month continuous enrollment of individuals under the Medicaid program and Children's Health Insurance Program and promote quality care. (Referred to Senate Finance Committee 2/3/2014)
- S. 2461 - CHIP Extension Act of 2014, sponsored by Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV): would provide a four year extension of the CHIP program, through September 2019, and make improvements to the way the program is run. (Referred to Finance Committee on 6/11/2014).
- H.R. 5364 - CHIP Extension and Improvement Act of 2014, sponsored by Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ): would provide a four year extension of the CHIP program, through September 2019, and make improvements to the way the program is run. (Referred to House Ways and Means Committee 7/31/2014)
- H.R. 172 - Ensuring Continuous Coverage Under SCHIP Act of 2013, sponsored by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX): would require 12-month continuous coverage under the State Children's Health Insurance Program. (Referred to House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health 1/4/2013).
- S. 2701 - Stopping Illegal Obamacare Subsidies Act, sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA): would require Health and Human Services to address inconsistencies between self-attested information provided by an applicant to be eligible for a state child health plan under the Child Health Insurance Program, and the data received from other sources. (Referred to Committee on Finance 7/30/2014).
Government Accountability Office - Children's Health Insurance: Information on Coverage of Services, Costs to Consumers, and Access to Care in CHIP and Other Sources of Insurance: http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/659180.pdf
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/state-category/medicaid-chip/chip/
Number of Children Ever Enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (FY 2012)
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/annual-chip-enrollment/