Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) gets short-term funding extension

On January 5 Texas health officials confirmed that a short-term funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will keep the program running through March. The funding—some $248 million for Texas kids—was included in a short-term budget bill passed by the U.S. Congress just before Christmas.

Long-term CHIP funding is still up in the air, pending congressional negotiations over a budget deal for federal fiscal year 2018, which started last October 1 with Congress locked in a stalemate over multiple spending decisions. As Congress returns from the holidays this week, the larger deadlock has yet to be resolved.

Without the short-term funding extension for CHIP, vital services to 400,000 Texas children in low-income working households would have run out as early as January 31. Formal funding authority for the program expired September 30, even though there is general agreement in Congress that the program deserves a five-year extension with full funding.

CHIP since its creation in 1997 on a bipartisan basis has been strongly supported by Texas AFT and a broad coalition of children’s health advocates. Texas AFT views children’s health coverage as an educational imperative as well as a health priority, as our members can attest that overcoming health problems is a key contributor to overcoming learning difficulties.