CHIP is of course the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers 9 million kids around the country and 20,000 here in Montana.
But that’s not quite accurate. We actually have 123,000 kids in Montana Healthy Kids, yet just 20,000 are covered by the federal CHIP portion.
So that’s good news. At least we’re not going to see over 100,000 kids kicked off the program…just 20,000.
But again…that’s not quite accurate.
If the feds are giving less money to the states – both for CHIP and because of what the new tax bill could portend – that means the states will have less money for their kids’ health insurance programs.
We know that CHIP is an $8 billion federal program, yet the U.S. Senate just cut taxes by $6 trillion.
I can easily see the 2019 Montana Legislature ordering more cuts to DPHHS, and perhaps that means fewer kids get free or reduced-cost health insurance.
So what’s going on here?
Because Congress didn’t reauthorize CHIP funding in October, we know that Montana will run out of money for that sometime between January and March.
The Flathead Beacon gives us a pretty good run-down on this, including info about Senator Tester’s bill to try and get funding jumpstarted.
At the End of November, the National Governors Association came out publicly to urge Congress to pass this. They know the hell their states will have to pay should they lose that federal money.
Just yesterday, however, Orrin Hatch of Utah told us that there’s simply no money to fund CHIP, now that the tax bill has passed the Senate.
This despite 60% of Americans saying they want this funded, as opposed to the 28% that wanted tax cuts.
Hatch hints that the bill will still get through, but we’ll see. Congress has its attention on getting the House to pass the tax cuts, and even more urgently, they need to come up with their 2-week funding extension so the government doesn’t close on Friday night.
Yep, another government shutdown.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that our government is functioning effectively and with your interests at heart. If it was, we wouldn’t have these shutdown threats so often.
So there’s a lot of stuff getting in Congress’s way when it comes to CHIP, and we haven’t even mentioned the holidays.
About 2 weeks, then.
We’ll see if Congress can get this done.