The CHIPS are down in CongressThe CHIPS are down in Congress
Published September 7, 2017 / Updated August 30, 2020

The CHIPS are down in Congress

The Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program will run out of money at the end of Sept; Congress hasn’t started on funding it.

by Chris Thomas


September is also national childhood cancer awareness month. #ironic

Back in May the Atlantic noted that “the Affordable Care act is consuming [so much oxygen] on Capitol Hill [that] the Senate Finance Committee postponed indefinitely a hearing… on the future of CHIP.” With hearings on CHIP scheduled this week, “indefinitely” has come and gone but Obamacare and the effort to repeal it still hangs over the Senate like fog.

While the GOP’s efforts to repeal the ACA have stalled out, they’re not quite dead yet (more on that later). As a result, the last-minute bid to fund CHIP may suffer from a Senate distracted by the continued efforts to repeal Obamacare. The consequences for the program and the millions of families the program benefits could be dire. CHIP runs out of funds at the end of September; Congress has until then to pass a re-authorization that President Trump will sign.

Why this matters

CHIP provides health insurance for nearly 9 million children. The program was at the center of a protracted political fight between President Obama and Congressional Republicans and was expanded as part of the Affordable Care act. CHIP has driven down the uninsured rate among children from 14% twenty years ago to 4.5% today. Should Congress allow the program to lapse it would eliminate insurance for nearly 1.1 million families and cut benefits for the remaining 8 million beneficiaries

Quick Facts

  • CHIP costs ~$14 billion per year and insures ~9 million kids
  • CHIP involves state and federal funds and programs vary by state
  • CHIP can not cover parents or other adults
  • CHIP can cover (legal) immigrants if states choose to do so (32 have)
  • Federal CHIP funds can not be used to cover undocumented children

Tell Congress what you think!

Text RESIST to 50409 to tell your representatives or Senators what you think about this or any other issue before Congress.

Who to talk to

The Senate Finance Committee has a hearing on CHIP on September 7 which is the first motion on funding the program since May. While all letters to Congress are impactful, if your Senator is on the Finance committee your voice is especially important on this topic.

Members of Senate Finance are:

  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Pat Roberts (R-KS)
  • Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • John Thune (R-SD)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA)
  • Dean Heller (R-NV)
  • Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Minority Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Thomas R. Carper (D-DE)
  • Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Michael F. Bennet (D-CO)
  • Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
  • Mark R. Warner (D-VA)
  • Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

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