Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) officially expired Sept. 30, 2017. On Oct. 4, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee approved its bill to reauthorize the program, but progress has been less bipartisan in the House.
At issue is how the reauthorization will be paid for in the House bill, with Democrats voicing opposition to the Republican’s plan to fund it through increased Medicare premiums on seniors earning more than $500,000 a year. Following a contentious seven-hour hearing, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the measure by a vote of 28-23, with only a few Democrats lending support. The Senate bill approved by the Finance Committee does not specify how it would pay for CHIP. The funding issue will need to be resolved by the House and Senate before it can go on to the President for his signature.
Most expect an extension to be approved eventually, but the delay has created uncertainty for officials at the state and local levels who are unable to make decisions about their budgets. According to analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 11 states will exhaust their CHIP funding by the end of this year without a federal extension, leaving some children without coverage.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD will continue to monitor negotiations and encourage lawmakers to extend funding for CHIP. The AGD also encourages members to weigh in with their Representatives and Senators in support of extending funding for CHIP by visiting the AGD’s action page, available here.