After long delay, CHIP receives 6-year reauthorization

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Congress agreed to a deal to re-open the government with a Continuing Resolution that includes a 6-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program. Coming 114 days after CHIP expired, this reauthorization provides long-awaited relief to millions of American families who depend on CHIP for their kids' healthcare, including many families of children with cancer.

The details, from The Washington Post:  "States, which share responsibility for CHIP, had been running short of federal funds for their programs at different paces. Connecticut became the first to freeze enrollment just before Christmas, and at least five states notified families that they would need to do so soon. Eleven other states were expecting to run out by the end of next month.

The measure approved Monday will ward off that escalating drama, providing about $124 billion through 2023. For the first two years, federal money will pay for at least 88 percent of the program’s expenses in every state — keeping a heightened federal match that was part of the Affordable Care Act. After that, the federal share will decrease over two years to its level before the 2010 ACA."

See also: CHIP is finally getting funded -- after 114 days without a budget (Vox) →

We thank those of you who used our CHIP action alert to send nearly 500 letters to Congress over the past several months urging a reauthorization of CHIP on behalf of the families of children with cancer who rely on this program for their child's care.

CHIP was enacted in 1997 to help states reduce the numbers of uninsured children.  It focuses on low-income kids in working families who don’t have access to job-based coverage but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.  Some 36 million children in this country are covered by Medicaid and/or CHIP.  Approximately one third of children with cancer depend on these programs for their treatment.  Since the program started, the uninsured rate for children age 18 and under has fallen by 67.9%, from 14.9% to 4.8%.

Over its twenty-year life, CHIP has been a winner for states and children alike. We thank Congress for finally providing families with the assurance of a 6-year program extension.