The President’s new budget endorses both the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but in both cases the budget falls short. The Administration proposes just a two-year extension of MIECHV and at the same level of $400 million as it receives now. As part of the Home Visiting Coalition, CWLA supports a five-year extension seeking a doubling of funding over the next five years from $400 million annually to $800 million annually.
Regarding the CHIP program, the Administration not only limits a CHIP reauthorization to two-years, it also calls for cuts. The Administration’s rationale is that such a short extension will provide stability to states and families while the future of the program is addressed alongside other health reforms. In fact, a two-year extension would add an element of uncertainty as states plan on future coverage and outreach. Advocates are already concerned about the lack of movement on this year’s extension since states can’t be certain how much funding they will have for the upcoming state fiscal year.
The Administration also seeks cuts by ending a 23 percent increase in the enhanced federal match rate and they want to cap the level at which States could receive the CHIP enhanced federal matching rate at 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. CHIP has had strong bipartisan support starting with the leadership of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) along with the Clinton Administration in 1997. It was first created under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. CHIP now covers approximately 9 million children with other children and families getting access to Medicaid due to the CHIP related outreach. It has been critical to reducing the uninsured rate for children.