With negotiations on the CR extended reauthorizations like CHIP and the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program could be either thrown into a larger separate package or part of the end of year deal on the budget—whatever that may be. Still in play from MIECHV is the length of the extension, whether it will be a full five years and whether the House will insist on a new state match.
CWLA is urging its members and advocates to reach out to their Senators in support of a five-year extension while including it in an extenders package. This is especially important to key leaders, McConnell, Schumer, Cornyn and others. Members can go to the CWLA Action Center to send an e-mail or call their Senators and members of Congress.
CHIP reauthorization will be extended by five years if it does get extended. The December 22 CR does provide some flexibility to move some CHIP funds around to some states in the most difficulty going. During the tax debate Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) did assure that CHIP would get done even though he complained about there being no money to spend.
The House of Representatives passed their version of a CHIP reauthorization by a largely partisan vote. The bill (HR 3922) extends CHIP for five years. Democrats are opposing this version of the bill because of the way it is paid for by taking some health prevention funding and raises money through increases in Medicare, something that will be even less appealing to Democrats now that the Speaker has raised Medicare as a possible target for cuts next year.
While Congress was offering vague assurances four governors form both parties called on Congress to act, In a New York Time Letter the governors said,
“As governors, we are committed to promoting initiatives that support the health and well-being of those who don’t have a platform to speak for themselves. When it comes to this goal, few programs are more essential than CHIP. Partisanship didn’t stand in the way of CHIP when it was enacted, and it shouldn’t stand in the way now that the program is in danger. We’re calling on Congress to act, and to act quickly, before the end of 2017.”
The Governors are: Charlie Baker (R-MA), Kate Brown (D-OR), Steve Bullock (R-MT), and Brian Sandoval (R-OH).