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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate Leaders Propose CHIP Extension

    Jason Kleinman, Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations

    Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Sept. 12 announced an agreement to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years. Under current law, funding for the program will expire on Sept. 30.

    Chairman Hatch noted, “Congress needs to act quickly to extend the funding for CHIP. This agreement with Ranking Member Wyden is a good first start. Not only does this proposal provide uninterrupted funding for CHIP, but it also provides certainty and increased flexibility for states to administer the program.” Sen. Hatch sponsored the original legislation that created CHIP in 1997 with Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

    According to the statement, “The lawmaker’s proposal would also over time, transition CHIP to its traditional federal-state partnership and provide additional protections for low-income children and flexibility for states.”

    While full legislative language detailing the agreement has not yet been released, it is expected that the deal will maintain the 23 percent increase in the federal matching rate to states from the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) for 2018 and 2019. The increase would then decrease to 11.5 percent in 2020 and be eliminated beginning in 2021.

    The agreement was announced following the Senate Finance Committee’s Sept. 7 hearing on the future of CHIP [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 8]. Meanwhile, in the House, bipartisan consensus on how to extend CHIP has not yet been achieved.