Federal funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program in Virginia set to expire unless Congress acts

Absent congressional reauthorization, federal funding for Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will run out in January, forcing the Commonwealth to notify the families of 65,000 Virginia children and 1,100 pregnant women in November that their coverage will be terminated.

healthcare“Once again, dysfunction in Washington is putting the health and security of Virginia families at risk, this time through Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If Congress does not act, 65,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women will be at risk of losing their coverage. Every day that Republicans in Congress fail to reauthorize this critical program will create significant uncertainty for families in every corner of this Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe.

“Health care for Virginia children is too important to fall by the wayside as Congress wages battles over a backward partisan agenda. I urge leaders in Washington to act now to fund health insurance for children across this nation before the remaining federal resources run out.”

While the House and Senate appear to be working on reauthorization bills, their failure to act before the legal deadline for reauthorization has forced states across the country to contemplate the adverse effects on children and state budgets. To make the transition as seamless as possible, Virginia will have to begin taking concrete steps this month and issue notices in late November if reauthorization is not enacted immediately. Many states across the country will run out of money to cover their residents even sooner than Virginia.

Even under the current reauthorization scenario contemplated in Congress, Virginia’s budget will take a hit. The Affordable Care Act had increased the percentage of funding for CHIP that came from the federal government. The current proposals to reauthorize CHIP reduce that enhanced match back to pre-ACA levels. That means Virginia could be required to pay approximately $50 million in additional general funds starting in fiscal year 2020 and more than $100 million each year going forward.

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