In mid-September, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined Chairman Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to introduce the Keeping Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure Act, which would extend CHIP funding for five years.
MACPAC warned that stopping CHIP funding will impact state budgets and force states to decide whether to continue coverage on their own dime. She said the federal match - three dollars for every state dollar - made it a good deal. The rate dropped from 14.8 percent to 6.2 percent in 2016, an all-time low.
Unless Congress acts to restore the funding, which, given this Congress's track record of moving legislation, is not reassuring.
"We would certainly hope and expect Congress to continue funding for this program", said Erin Barham, a spokesperson for Mississippi's Division of Medicaid. Mauk cited studies proving that kids with health insurance "do better overall" as they age - whether that's measured in hospitalizations, success in school, or long-term health. If Congress does not act to renew the program and there are no other allotments, funding would be depleted sometime in the quarter ending June 30. The number of children determined eligible for CHIP but placed on a waiting list grew to over 34,000. Luckily, that money won't run out until next year.
State health officials said the state, which is already facing likely spending cuts to address a budget crisis, would have to come up with $96 million a year to make up for a loss of federal CHIP funds.
A bipartisan bill now in the Senate Finance Committee may reauthorize CHIP before states begin to exhaust funding. Another 27 states might use up their funds by the end of March. By contrast, a mere six percent of those polled believed ensuring future funding for CHIP was "not important".
The Sept. 30 deadline passed without Congress taking action on the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, though committees have drafted new legislation to take its place.
Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, said the department is closely monitoring the renewal process and officials are hopeful that CHIP will be reauthorized soon.
"We have never had a situation like this before", Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families, said in a press briefing. I think there have been some who've been anxious about whether or not Congress was going to move before the end of the federal fiscal year.
DSH is the "largest source of federal funding for uncompensated care" in hospitals, according to the AHCCCS website, which said payments are made to qualifying hospitals in the fall.
CHIP advocates have also been nervous that the program could become a battleground for the still-simmering Obamacare fight - that the program's funding could get stuck not because of any disagreements over CHIP itself, but because it becomes the cipher for a separate health care fight. "Congress needs to act now and do the right thing", Gov. Wolf said.