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  • Washington Highlights

    MACPAC Passes Recommendations to Congress on the Future of Children’s Coverage

    Jason Kleinman, Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations

    The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) Dec. 15-16 met to discuss the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and children’s coverage. The commission passed a package of recommendations to Congress that will be included in its March 2017 Report to Congress.

    The commission recommends that federal CHIP funding be extended for five years, through fiscal year (FY) 2022, to give federal and state policymakers time to develop policies for and to implement and test coverage approaches that promote seamlessness of coverage, affordability, and adequacy of covered benefits for low-and moderate-income children.

    In addition to the CHIP extension, other key recommendations include:

    • Extending the current CHIP maintenance of effort (MOE) and the 23 percent increase in federal CHIP matching rate through FY 2022; 
    • Eliminating waiting periods for CHIP;
    • Children with family incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level not be subject to CHIP premiums;
    • Creating and funding a children’s coverage demonstration grant program to support the development of testing and state-based, seamless systems of coverage for CHIP eligible children;
    • Permanently extending the authority for states to use Express Lane Eligibility for children in Medicaid and CHIP;
    • The Health and Human Services Secretary should submit a report to Congress on the legislative and regulatory modifications needed to permit states to use Medicaid and CHIP eligibility determination information to determine eligibility for other designated programs serving children and families; and
    • Extending funding for five years for grants to support outreach and enrollment of Medicaid and CHIP eligible children.

    According to the Congressional Budget Office, these recommendations will result in $13.2 billion in federal spending over five years.