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With CHIP in limbo, here are 5 takeaways on the congressional impasse

Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Political News

Not sure. CHIP reauthorization could be included in an appropriations bill that Congress must pass to fund the government into 2018. (Congress now has funded the government through Friday.) A "continuing resolution" bill would have to be approved by then to avert a government shutdown.

But we're journalists, not prognosticators -- and we have been wrong before. Most Capitol Hill observers expected a deal by the end of September.

4. If CHIP is so popular among Republicans and Democrats, what's the problem?

There is little debate about its worth and value, but the momentum on CHIP was lost amid disagreements over the Affordable Care Act. The House did extend authorization with a vote -- mostly along party lines -- on Nov. 3. The Senate itself has yet to vote. The Senate Finance Committee on Oct. 3 approved a bipartisan bill to extend the program for five years.

The sticking point is not whether to keep CHIP running but how to raise the cash needed. The House agreed to charge higher premiums to wealthier Medicare beneficiaries, cut money from the ACA's preventive health fund and shorten the grace period for ACA enrollees who fail to make monthly premium payments.

Like the House bill, the Senate committee bill eliminated an ACA provision to increase CHIP matching funds -- to states -- by 23 percent. The increased funding would continue through fiscal year 2019 and fall to 11.5 percent in fiscal year 2020. It would be cut entirely in the following fiscal year.

5. How does CHIP differ based on where you live?

 

CHIP income eligibility levels vary by state. About 90 percent of children who qualify are from families earning 200 percent of poverty or less ($40,840 for a family of three). CHIP covers children up to age 19. But states have the option to cover pregnant women, and 18 states plus the District of Columbia do so.

And some states call CHIP by different names. For example, it is known as Hoosier Healthwise in Indiana, PeachCare for Kids in Georgia and KidsCare in Arizona.

(Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.)

(c)2017 Kaiser Health News

Visit Kaiser Health News at www.khn.org

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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