Renewing CHIP is Public’s Top Priority, Survey Reveals

According to a recent survey by the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, renewing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is the public’s top priority for Congress.

The Continuing Resolution, or stopgap spending bill, lawmakers passed before leaving Washington for the holidays provided $2.85 billion for CHIP and $550 million for community health centers through March 31, but a long-term, bipartisan deal remains elusive. Democrats and Republicans are divided over how to pay for the program. Last week Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall said the Senate CHIP bill would cost $800 million over 10 years. Prior to this, the CHIP bill needed to be offset by about $8 billion over 10 years. The total cost of CHIP over 10 years would be $48.4 billion, but decreases in Medicaid and health care marketplace spending would offset much of that amount, according to Hall. The budget negotiations are ongoing on Capitol Hill.

Since 1997, when CHIP was enacted with bipartisan support, it has provided critical health care services to children in working families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance. In fact, CHIP has helped cut the number of low-income, uninsured children across the country by 80 percent, dramatically increasing access to health care.

In North Carolina an estimated 256,000 children are covered by CHIP. Research by the Government Accountability Office shows that CHIP coverage has more comprehensive benefits and is more affordable than either marketplace or employer-sponsored coverage.


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