National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) and NGA Health and Human Services Committee Vice Chair Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) sent a May 11 letter to key members of Congress on behalf of the nation’s governors, calling for a five-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at the current enhanced match. Under current law, CHIP funding is scheduled to expire Sept. 30.
The letter was sent to Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), as well as House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). It notes, “CHIP is widely supported by governors, who recognize that access to health insurance is critical to ensuring a healthy start for our nation’s children. Since CHIP was enacted, the uninsured rate for children age 18 or younger as fallen from 14.9% to 4.8%.”
The letter continues, “The future of CHIP is a critical issue that should be addressed as soon as possible by the 115th Congress. Given the uncertainty around health reform at the national level and the relative instability of the private health insurance market in many states, it is imperative that Congress act soon. Governors urge you to protect children’s coverage and give states certainty by providing an extension of funding for the program.”
The AAMC has encouraged Congress to reauthorize permanently CHIP with guaranteed funding, rather than subject it to the annual appropriations process.