Congress Managed to Do Real Damage to Children’s Health Insurance


By: Mark Hay

On September 30, Congress failed to re-fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides access to low-cost insurance for almost 9 million kids and hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid but still need assistance. This lapse, the result of a decision by Republican leadership to focus on a last-ditch attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act and pass a massive tax cuts instead, compounded by partisan bickering over offsets to pay for new CHIP funds, led to almost four months of stopgap funding measures and uncertainty about the future of the program, which has enjoyed widespread support since its 1997 origin.

Late last month legislators finally passed a long-term funding measure, securing the future of CHIP. “The process dragged out far too long,” said Joan Alker, a CHIP expert at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families. “But it ended well, as CHIP will have stable funding for ten years.”

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