This week, the longest extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in history became law. The six-year renewal of CHIP is a big win for the millions of families who depend on the program for coverage.
A federal-state partnership, CHIP provides access to health coverage for nearly 9 million children from low-income families. Roughly two million CHIP beneficiaries have chronic conditions. In applauding this week’s action, the Children’s Hospital Association noted that “this extension will ensure access to a range of pediatric services — from preventative visits to life-saving treatments — for millions of children in working families.”
As you may know, this took longer than it should have. Last month, Speaker Ryan talked about CHIP’s history of bipartisan support. “Care for children in need should always, always go beyond party lines,” he said. Yet, five times in 2 ½ months, a majority of House Democrats voted to block both short-term and long-term extensions of CHIP funding. Even this week, with several states on the verge of running out of CHIP funds, Democrats maintained their opposition.
Nevertheless, the longest CHIP extension in history is now law, giving doctors and families more certainty than ever. “Check children’s health insurance funding off the worry list,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune said in an editorial.
After the president signed the extension, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) said, “families across the country can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they will continue having access to affordable, quality health insurance.”