There has been no progress on moving a CHIP reauthorization and movement in the Senate seems almost impossible this week as the Senate Finance Committee gets tied up with the tax package this week. That would appear to kick this can down the road beyond Thanksgiving.
The House of Representatives passed their version of a CHIP reauthorization by a vote of 242 to 174, two weeks ago. The bill (HR 3922) would extend CHIP for five years but would extend community health center funding for only two years. Democrats are opposing this version of the bill because of the way it is paid for. The proposed offset includes a cut ACA health prevention funding. It also would use revenue from a tax increase on higher earning Medicare recipients.
CHIP is funded by mandatory funds and does not require an annual appropriation, but it does need to be reauthorized every few years. In recent years the law has provided some reserve funds to prevent unexpected shortfalls for the 50 states. Some states are precariously close to running out and they have never been placed in this position as CHIP has had bipartisan reauthorizations in its 17 year-plus history.
This past week West Virginia leadership acted to close CHIP enrollment at the end of February if Congress has not acted by then. As part of that the state will notify enrollees and providers in January of the action. At the same time, Texas state officials announced in a letter to key congressional leaders that 400,000 children will begin to receive notices as early as December 1 if Congress does not act.