It’s a great relief to many state officials that Congress has passed an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Last night, the U. S. Senate passed H. R. 2, a bill that already passed the House to repeal and replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and extend federal funding for the CHIP program at its current level through federal fiscal year 2017. Though not a permanent program, CHIP is an important source of coverage for children and this extension provides states with much needed time to integrate its lessons into the ACA environment.
So, we thank Congress for its successful bipartisan effort to ensure CHIP is available for the children and families that depend upon it. However, we also recognize the important work that must begin immediately to address critical policy issues to support and strengthen children’s coverage into the future. These include:
- Resolving the family glitch
- Designing pediatric benefits, including pediatric dental, within exchange and private market plans
- Ensuring exchange coverage is affordable for families, particularly in regards to cost sharing for children
- Establishing appropriate provider networks that include pediatric specialists
NASHP looks forward to working with state and federal officials and multiple stakeholders, including Congress, over the next two years to ensure the gains we have made in children’s coverage since CHIP’s enactment in 1997 are preserved into the future.