This week, U.S. House and Senate committees debated the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), after failing to reauthorize the program by the September 30 deadline. The key committees in both chambers with jurisdiction over the issue passed separate bills on October 4 that would reauthorize federal funding for the program, which provides health insurance coverage to 116,000 children in Michigan and 8.4 million nationwide.
The Senate Finance Committee swiftly passed its version of the legislation that would extend funding for five years, while the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent hours debating and ultimately passing its bill along party lines. Both bills include changes to CHIP. A Senate change would eliminate enhanced federal allotments by 23%, garnered under the Affordable Care Act. A House change includes a “pay for” proposal that would charge higher premiums for wealthy Medicare beneficiaries.
It was agreed upon by Senators that amendments would not be offered during committee debate; thus, an amendment by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, which would have continued federal funding for community health centers, failed to be added to the Senate bill. Federal funding for the community health center program also lapsed on September 30.
How each chamber will ultimately reconcile the differences between the proposals remains unknown. READ MORE
Some states have or are expected to run out of money for CHIP due to the lapse in funding; however, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that Michigan’s program is solvent for now and may not run out of money until as late as May 2018.