Hatch-Wyden Draft Bill to Extend CHIP Released

Although the renewed focus on Graham-Cassidy threatens to derail timely action on CHIP, a draft of bipartisan legislative language from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to extend CHIP has been released. In keeping with the positive signals that we’ve been hearing about, the draft bill known as the “Keep Kids Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017” or “the KIDS Act” would:

  • Extend CHIP funding for five years through federal fiscal year 2022.
  • Sustain the child enrollment contingency fund for states that might exhaust their allotment.
  • Maintain the option for qualifying states – 11 states that had expanded Medicaid prior to CHIP – to draw down CHIP match for their pre-CHIP Medicaid expansions.
  • Authorize the continuation of Express Lane Eligibility through 2022.
  • Preserve the maintenance-of-effort provision for children in families whose income does not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Provide continuing grant funding for key initiatives:
    • Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project ($25 million)
    • Pediatric Quality Measures Program ($75 million)
    • Outreach and Enrollment Program ($100 million)
  • Continue the 23-percentage point bump for two years (2018–19); fund one-half of the bump (11.5 percentage points) for 2020, and return to the traditional enhanced CHIP match for 2021–22.

We appreciate the bipartisan effort that has emerged in the Senate to extend CHIP and protect our nation’s historic gains in covering 95 percent of children. But it’s important to note that CHIP stands on the shoulders of Medicaid. For every child covered by CHIP, four children rely on Medicaid to access the health care they need to succeed in school and life. Efforts to cut and cap Medicaid – regardless of what form – would undermine the foundation of coverage that Medicaid provides for children.

Tricia Brooks is a Research Professor at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families.