CHA News Article

House Panel Holds Hearing on Future of Children’s Health Insurance Program
Discusses current status of program and how the Affordable Care Act has affected it

Last week, the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled “The Future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” to discuss key issues Congress should evaluate as it considers whether to extend funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The committee also discussed the current status of the program and how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has affected it. Anne Schwartz, executive director of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission testified that a two-year extension is “needed to minimize coverage disruptions and provide for a thorough examination of options addressing affordability, adequacy and transitions to other sources of coverage.” Created by Congress in 1997, CHIP has helped to cut the national rate of uninsured children from 14 percent to 7 percent. While the ACA authorized the program through fiscal year 2019, federal funding will expire Sept. 30, 2015, with some states exhausting their funding before then.

Additional considerations at the hearing included:

  • What are the health coverage effects on current CHIP enrollees if federal CHIP funding is or is not extended?
  • What is the impact on the federal budget if federal CHIP funding is or is not extended?
  • What feedback have governors/states provided about the current design of the program? What changes would they like to see Congress make?
  • How does CHIP coverage (benefits, cost-sharing and access) compare to Medicaid or exchange coverage?
  • To what extent does CHIP coverage crowd out private coverage?
  • How does the current structure of CHIP (along with Medicaid and exchange coverage) affect whether parents and children have the same health coverage?
  • What issues or concerns have been raised about the current design of the program by various stakeholders (health care providers, health plans, public health groups, children’s advocates, etc.)?

To review a webinar recording of the hearing, visit http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/future-children%E2%80%99s-health-insurance-program.

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