The National Governors Association on Friday urged Congress to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Plan, the government medical coverage plan that is offered to low-income children.
"Governors urge Congress to act quickly to extend funding for CHIP at the current enhanced match, which currently expires at the end of September, to provide certainty for states and millions of working families," the association said in a statement.
The House's Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing Friday morning on CHIP and on the Community Health Center Fund. CHIP, which was created more than two decades ago, has long had bipartisan support, but negotiations over a healthcare bill intended to repeal and replace portions of Obamacare could hold up reauthorizing its funding, which much occur every two years. The program is set to end in September unless it is reauthorized, threatening the future of coverage for 8.4 million children in middle- or low-income families.
If Congress doesn't act to reauthorize the program, states will run out of their federal allotment at some point during the next fiscal year, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. Without federal funding, states will have to begin notifying families and medical providers, even if Congress assures that it will authorize the funding later, the National Governor's Association warned.
Those concerned about the legislation being advanced by Republicans also worry that restructuring and spending reductions on Medicaid would affect CHIP coverage because the programs' financing is related.