A short-term House spending bill to fund the government until Jan. 19 includes nearly $3 billion to tide over states running out of funds from the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The continuing resolution released early Thursday morning gives CHIP $2.85 billion in new funding through the end of March. It also includes $750 million in new money for community health centers and a special diabetes program that also are short on funds.
The short-term fix that House Republicans hope to pass today is not a long-term, multiyear reauthorization that some lawmakers had hoped. However, it does inject new funds for states that are running short. CHIP and community health center program funding expired on Sept. 30.
Several states have needed redistributed funding from the federal government to keep CHIP programs running, although a majority will start to run out early next year.
CHIP is a federal block grant program that gives states money to provide insurance to low-income children. While the program has been traditionally bipartisan, it has been mired in partisan disputes on how to pay for it.
The House passed a bill back in October that reauthorizes CHIP for five years and community health center funding for two years. However, that bill has languished in the Senate as Democrats have opposed funding offsets that include charging wealthy seniors higher Medicare premiums and taking from an Obamacare disease prevention fund.
The money for the diabetes program and community health centers in the new continuing resolution comes from that same Obamacare fund, which is one of the reasons why Democrats are expected to oppose it.
In the Dec. 8 continuing resolution, Congress gave the Trump administration more flexibility to use redistribution funds to states, which are CHIP funding leftover from prior years.
A few states, most recently Alabama, have notified families of the chance of losing funding and cutting off services in the next month if Congress doesn’t act.
It remains unclear how the Senate will address CHIP funding in its own short-term spending bill, or whether it will simply take up the House funds. The government runs out of money at midnight on Friday, and the House is expected to pass its bill Thursday and then adjourn for the year.