On Monday, September 18, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released their bill to extend CHIP for five years. The Keeping Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act (S. 1827), would over time reduce the enhanced match.

In releasing the bill, Senator Hatch said, “Introducing this legislation is an important next step toward ensuring uninterrupted funding for CHIP, providing much-needed certainty for the vulnerable children and families who rely on this critical program for health coverage. I look forward to continuing our efforts to develop a smart and fiscally responsible solution. Working with my colleagues in both the Senate and House, we will push to advance this initiative and ensure the continued healthcare coverage for American children.” 

Finance Committee Ranking Member Senator Ron Wyden said, “This strong, bipartisan CHIP bill ensures that children and their families will have good health care and states will have the certainty they need for years to come. I look forward to working with Chairman Hatch and members on both sides of the aisle to focus on this bipartisan priority and move it through Congress as quickly as possible.” 

It remains unclear whether CHIP will get extended as a single bill or be combined with several other expiring health care bills, some as part of Medicare. It is also possible that Home Visiting could catch a ride with the package where the $400 million a year for home visiting would be a small relative amount of money.

CHIP supporters see it as imperative that this get done as quickly as possible due to concerns of the money running out on September 30 and that impact on state plans and programs. Finishing this up by that timeframe will now be difficult due to the revisiting of the ACA debate.