Congress Must Act Immediately to Protect Children’s Health Insurance

October 30, 2017

Ohio projected to run out of federal CHIP funds by end of 2017.

On September 30, due to congressional inaction, federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) lapsed. One month later, Congress has yet to extend CHIP funding. Without immediate action from Congress, Ohio is projected to run out of federal CHIP funds by December 2017 — risking the health care of hundreds of thousands of Ohio children.

Together with Medicaid, CHIP — a program that has held strong bipartisan support throughout its 20 year history — helps provide consistent, high-quality, and affordable health care coverage for millions of American children.

CHIP helps ensure that vulnerable children have access to the care they need at a price their families can afford.

  • CHIP covers an estimated 9 million low-income children nationwide. Ohio’s CHIP program — known as Healthy Start — covers nearly 224,000 children.
  • Through Healthy Start, qualifying children have access to an array of health care services. In addition to routine check-ups and dental cleanings, Healthy Start also covers hearing and vision exams; corrective lenses and hearing aids; physical and occupational therapy; and behavioral health services, among other services.
  • Those eligible for Ohio’s Healthy Start include uninsured children up to age 19 whose families do not qualify for Medicaid and earn up to 206% of the federal poverty level. Healthy Start also covers pregnant women in families with income up to 200% of the federal poverty level.

Ohio is projected to run out of federal CHIP funding by the end of the year — which could cause a state budget shortfall.

  • According to projections, Ohio is set to run out of federal CHIP funds by December 2017 — potentially making Ohio among the first wave of states to exhaust federal CHIP funds.
  • Ohio is one of 48 states that planned its FY18 state budget with the assumption that federal CHIP funding would be reauthorized. As a result, Ohio may face a funding shortfall if Congress fails to act.

Congress must act immediately to reauthorize funding for CHIP and stop playing politics with children’s health care.

  • Across all 16 of Ohio’s congressional districts, thousands of Ohio children and their families rely on CHIP:

chip chart

Source: Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

  • Failure to reauthorize funding for CHIP could force Ohio to freeze or limit qualifying children’s health care coverage — disrupting their care and jeopardizing their health.

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