Children’s Health Insurance Program Financing – Not as Cutting Edge as Dr. Gawande’s Article But Vital to Kids Health – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

Not destined to be as au courant in health reform circles as Dr. Atul Gawande’s article on health care costs that President Obama is now touting, but if you would like the blow-by-blow on how the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) changes the way that federal dollars flow to states to operate their CHIP programs, I strongly encourage you to check out our new “CHIP Tip“. Issued jointly with the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, this latest installment in the CHIP Tip Series on key provisions of CHIPRA goes through the details of how CHIP financing will now work.

If you aren’t up for the blow-by-blow version, I’ll let you cheat by sharing the bottom line: Each and every state now has access to the federal matching funds that it needs – one way or another — to sustain its CHIP program and adopt significant expansions. No longer should there be any doubts in the minds of state policymakers that if they can come up with their own share of the required funding (i.e., state matching funds), the federal government will be there as a strong, reliable financing partner in the effort to cover children.

Of course, we realize that the big issue these days IS whether states can come up with their own share of the required money.  Alarmingly, Governor Schwarzenegger is moving forward with plans to eliminate the state’s Healthy Families program on the grounds that California doesn’t even have the money needed for continuing its existing CHIP program. While this is a dire situation that will be devastating to children if put into effect, the attention it has (appropriately) received has drowned out the reality that lots of states are taking advantage of the new federal funding opportunities and seizing the moment to move forward in offering coverage to more of America’s uninsured children.

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