03 Mar ICYMI: BPC Calls for Extending CHIP, Safety-Net Programs for Four Years in Children, Health, Report
Below are BPC’s recommendations for a four-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Community Health Centers (CHC), National Health Service Corps (NHSC), and the Maternal, Infant, and Early-Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). These are historically bipartisan programs that would ensure stability for vulnerable populations and will give policymakers the time to examine the future of these programs.
CHIP, Other Safety-Net Programs Should Be Extended for Four Years to Protect Vulnerable Populations
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) along with three other safety-net programs should be extended for four years through FY2021, according to a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center. Without swift congressional action, funding for CHIP, Community Health Centers (CHC), National Health Service Corps (NHSC), and the Maternal, Infant and Early-Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) will end on September 30, 2017 and greatly impact the coverage and access to care for tens of millions of children and other lower-income Americans.
BPC’s report, Preserving the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Other Safety-Net Programs, calls for extending CHIP funding at current levels of $39.7 billion each year; CHC funding at current levels of $5.1 billion annually (mandatory and appropriated funding); NHSC funding at current levels of $310 million per year; and MIECHV funding at current levels of $400 million annually through FY2021.
“Our nation’s children and other lower-income individuals and families in medically underserved areas, both urban and rural, depend on these programs,” said former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., who co-chairs BPC’s health project. “Swift action now is needed to give states some level of certainty on how to plan their 2018 budgets, which for most states begins July 1, 2017.”
While the debate continues around the future the Affordable Care Act, governors, state agencies, and state legislatures are working to finalize their budgets for FY2018. The report points out that a four-year extension of these historically bipartisan programs would ensure health care coverage remains stable for a state’s most vulnerable population, and provides a longer timeline and assurance of funding for their care. It will also give policymakers the time to examine the future of these programs.
“No child or family should be at risk of losing health insurance coverage,” said former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who co-chairs BPC’s health project. “Uncertainty around the future of health reform underscores the need to reauthorize CHIP, Community Health Centers, and other important safety-net programs as soon as possible
“Reauthorizing CHIP and other important safety-net programs will ensure continuity of care for children and low income families across the country,” said Katherine Hayes, director of BPC health policy. “It will also send a strong message that Washington is still working for American families, and it’s the right thing to do.”
The report emphasizes that any extension of these safety-net programs must be fully offset and not add to the federal deficit.