Press Releases

December CHIP funds secured as pushed by Heller, Costello, Emmer

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s (R-NV) legislation giving states an interim path to proceed with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), The Chip Stability Act, was signed into law on Dec. 8 by President Donald Trump.

Heller’s legislation was incorporated into H.J. Res. 123, a bill to keep the federal government funded for two weeks.

“I applaud the president for signing into law this legislation that ensures there is no gap in funding for CHIP,” said Heller, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program.

With the funding gap addressed, Congress can consider FY2018 CHIP reauthorization legislation.

Heller said it’s vital to keep the program operational because CHIP is a lifeline for thousands of vulnerable children.

“This bill helps ensure states can continue to provide the vital services offered through CHIP as we continue working on a bipartisan, long-term extension of this critical program,” he said, also thanking U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Tom Emmer (R-MN) for helping to push the proposal through Congress.

Heller also has cosponsored the Keeping Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure vulnerable children have health care stability by extending CHIP funding for five years. Heller said the CHIP Stability Act compliments the KIDS Act, which is up for reauthorization that he plans to continue supporting.

Costello and Emmer introduced the House version of the CHIP Stability Act, which included language introduced by Emmer in a provision that allows for CHIP funding through the end of 2017.

This will “bring certainty and much needed support for thousands of Minnesotans,” Emmer said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee had jurisdiction over the House legislation.

“It’s frustrating to see states forced to rely on this stopgap funding to pay for CHIP when the House passed a fully funded, five-year extension of this essential program last month,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Dr. Michael C. Burgess (R-TX).

“In the meantime, bipartisan, bicameral discussions continue so we can swiftly reach an agreement on a broad package to extend funding for CHIP, Medicare extenders that seniors rely on, and other vital public health programs,” the House chairmen said. “Patients have been waiting for far too long. We need to get this done.”

Under current law, CHIP uses a redistribution fund that includes unused program funds from the prior two years, enabling states to meet the projected costs of their current program. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) distributes those additional funds based on a state’s percentage of national CHIP allotments. States and territories exhaust their funding at different rates, and some will run out of CHIP funding this month.

The Chip Stability Act allows CMS to suspend its statutory formula and use all available redistribution funds to cover exhausted funds, enabling full funding for all states and territories through the end of December.


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