West Virginia will end its Children Health Insurance Program by Feb. 28 if Congress doesn’t approve funding for the nationwide program.
The state board that runs CHIP voted Thursday to end the program on that date since Congress has not reached an agreement on funding. Other states are also expected to run out of funding in early 2018, and some estimates show states could run out of funds as early as next month.
The board said in a statement that if Congress approves funding, it will meet to rescind the closure plan and the program to fund insurance for low-income kids will continue.
“We regret the frustration this may cause you and we are hopeful that Congress will approve funding by the end of this year,” the statement on its website said.
The board’s decision underscores the anxiety states are facing as Congress has yet to reach a decision on CHIP funding.
CHIP expired Sept. 30, but states don’t immediately run out of funds because the program provides block grants to states to fund the program.
The House passed its version of a five-year reauthorization bill, but it is viewed as a nonstarter in the Senate because of controversial funding offsets. House Republicans sought to fund CHIP by raising Medicare premiums on wealthy seniors and raiding an Obamacare disease prevention fund.
The Senate Finance Committee passed its own five-year reauthorization bill, but it doesn’t include any funding offsets. Senate lawmakers are still negotiating over how to fund CHIP.
Some lawmakers have suggested that CHIP funding could be put in an end-of-year spending deal to fund the government. Government funding expires Dec. 8.
Meanwhile, states are grappling with what to do in the interim.
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress on CHIP and Medicaid issues, projected that all states will exhaust federal funds at some point next year.
The commission projected that Arizona and Minnesota will run out of funding by the end of December and the District of Columbia in early 2018.
It also projected that 28 states will run out of funds by the end of March and 19 by the end of June. Another two states, Illinois and Wyoming, won’t run out of funds until September.