According to The Hill, the Senate measure approved earlier today, Jan. 22, included six years funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, also know as CHIP.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program – also known as CHIP – has figured prominently in the deliberations on keeping the federal government open. Reporting today by Governing magazine says that the details of the vote later today have not been made public, so the fate of the six-year funding appropriation for CHIP that was included in the House continuing resolution is unclear.

WHEREAS, federal funding for the CHIP program has not been appropriated for 2018 or beyond; and

WHEREAS, states adopted budgets for 2018 during their 2016 or 2017 legislative sessions assuming that federal funds for CHIP would be appropriated; and

On November 3, the House voted to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance, or CHIP, program, passing the measure with a 242-174 bipartisan vote. But the bill also must pass in the Senate before it can take effect, so many states will likely run out of money before they receive any new CHIP funds.

With insurance coverage for 8.9 million children hanging in the balance, states have been anxiously waiting to find out if federal funding will be extended for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. In early October, bills have passed out of committee in both the House and Senate to extend federal funding through 2022 for CHIP and other related programs. Both bills would extend CHIP funding and maintain the 23-percentage-point increase in the enhanced federal matching rate through FY 2019.

Congress must vote by Sept. 30 to ensure the future of federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. States are following this vote closely, as 8.9 million children per year are insured under CHIP.

When President Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 into law in April, he helped ensure more than 1 million children will continue to have health insurance. The Children’s Health Insurance Program—commonly known as CHIP—covers children from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet do not earn enough to qualify for federal health insurance subsidies. In 2013, 8.1 million children were enrolled in CHIP, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program has cut in half the rate of uninsured children, going from 14 percent in 1997 to 7 percent in 2012. CHIP originally had been set to expire this year due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. When the U.S. Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion voluntary, states that chose not to expand their programs would have run into problems with insurance being lost for children whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid should CHIP have expired.

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Breast milk contains important nutrients, immune-system antibodies and growth factors that all contribute to a baby’s health, particularly babies who are vulnerable because they are premature or underweight. But a number of circumstances — including maternal illness, death, surgery, use of drugs or medications, and certain chronic conditions — can prevent a mother from being able to breastfeed.

One potential alternative for some babies, then, is the use of human donor milk. Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio are among the states with nonprofit human-milk banks that have been certified by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. (The association’s certification standards were established with input from the federal government and the blood and tissue industries.)

This act revises the education and orientation requirements for birth centers and their families to incorporate safe sleep practices and causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. It also makes legislative findings with respect to the sudden unexpected death of an infant under a specified age, as well as defines the term “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death”, and includes other provisions relating to training requirements for first responders and health professionals.

The bad news is a lot of people across the country can’t get access to appropriate and timely dental care. The good news is state policymakers can help improve the situation.
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