When the federal fiscal year ended on Sept. 30, 2017, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) saw its authorization and funding expire. Through late January, several states struggled to keep their CHIP initiatives afloat while Congress failed to agree on permanent funding.
Then came the government shutdown. Arising from the ashes of that disaster, a six-year CHIP funding provision was included in the vote to reopen the government and fund it through Feb. 8.
Now that Feb. 8 has come and gone — with another government shutdown (of only a few hours’ duration) — CHIP has seen its fortunes enhanced with a further four-year funding authorization, giving the program life through 2028 — and potentially through three new administrations.
CHIP is a bipartisan darling that came about through the odd-couple adventure of former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) during the Clinton administration. It currently provides health care services for some 9 million children nationwide who otherwise would be uncovered or woefully under-covered.
According to CNBC.com, the temporary funding measure passed in the wee hours this morning includes:
- A $165 billion increase in military spending;
- A $131 billion boost to domestic program spending;
- Nearly $90 billion in funding for disaster relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California;
- Two years of funding for community health centers;
- Another four-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for a total of a decade;
- Funding for existing infrastructure programs related to transportation, drinking water and broadband.
Congress must now pass appropriation bills to lock in that spending for two years. The temporary measure expires March 23.