On December 21—prior to the holiday break—Congress passed a temporary spending measure, delaying comprehensive action on important funding priorities including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Despite expectations that the funding extension could keep the program solvent through March, it is now being reported that the program could run out of money as early as January 19.
Several states have issued letters to current CHIP beneficiaries informing them that their coverage will expire in the coming weeks. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials previously said it was anticipating sending notices to the parents of the 116,000 children enrolled in MICHILD (Michigan’s version of CHIP) about the potential it could end. If action isn’t taken, the state has said it will only be able to keep the program solvent through April or else pursue other avenues of funding such as the state’s General Fund.
Congress’ failure to provide long-term stability through reauthorization not only puts children’s health coverage at risk; it also negatively impacts Teaching Health Centers, which provide community-based training to Family Medicine residents, and Federally Qualified Health Centers, whose doors are open to all, regardless of insurance or income status.
In December, a Teaching Health Center program announced it was closing due to the lack of stability and others are poised to do the same should a solution not be enacted soon. Likewise, Federally Qualified Health Centers in Michigan and across the country are facing service and staff reductions, and even closure. READ MORE
SPEAK OUT! While we are hearing promising reports that Congress may take action to extend funding prior to January 19, it is still important to put pressure on your elected officials. Tell Congress to act immediately to reauthorize CHIP, the Teaching Health Center program, and health care programs important to Family Physicians and their patients.