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.