We have seen encouraging signs of progress at the federal level around extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, known as the Child Health Plan Plus, or CHP+, in Colorado). Federal funding for CHIP will expire in September 2015 if Congress does not act to extend it. President Obama’s proposed budget, released earlier this month, includes four more years of funding for CHIP. Legislation to extend CHIP has also been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. While these bills contain variations in other policy components of the program, both bills would extend funding for CHIP through 2019.
We are also excited to see bipartisan advocacy about the need for Congress to act quickly to extend CHIP funding. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Frist, former Republican senator from Tennessee, recently published an opinion piece in the New York Times urging Congress to take action to extend CHIP funding as soon as possible in order to give state legislatures time for planning and budgeting during their legislative sessions. A bi-partisan letter sent this week by the National Governors Association to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce echoed this request and asked Congress to provide states certainty by extending CHIP, which is broadly supported by state governors.
We are hopeful that Congress will take action on CHIP as early as March. Stay tuned for additional updates and opportunities to take action on this critical issue for children’s health coverage. You can also visit CHIP Works Colorado on the All Kids Covered website to learn more and read stories about families and individuals in Colorado who rely on CHIP.