Senate, House Committees Pass CHIP Reauthorization Measures

This week, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced measures to reauthorize and fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Recall earlier this week, Congress allowed CHIP funding to lapse. The Senate Finance Committee quickly advanced a bipartisan measure which would extend CHIP funding for five years and provide additional protections for low-income children.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, however, spent over six hours debating their measure, ultimately resulting in the advancement of the bill on a partisan vote. The House measure includes a series of provisions that would make significant changes and utilize funds from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). This week, CHEAC, along with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), submitted a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee expressing opposition to the use of PPHF funds to reauthorize CHIP.

While the Senate CHIP reauthorization measure now heads to the floor where a funding source will have to be identified, the House version is expected to be mired in a partisan fight on the floor over its changes to broader health care programs and funding sources. With limited funds remaining, time is running short for Congress to take action. California, along with a handful of other states, is expected to run out of funds for the CHIP program at the end of 2017, forcing the state to make difficult decisions around its coverage of more than two million low-income children and pregnant women.