The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was established under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA 97) to offer health insurance to children from low to moderate-income families who were ineligible for Medicaid but couldn’t afford private insurance.
The program grants federal funding to states, enabling them to establish and enhance their own programs, and offers more flexibility to states in terms of program design compared to Medicaid.
Initially, there was uncertainty about the level of participation from states in CHIP. However, by fiscal year 2000, every state, territory, and the District of Columbia had children enrolled in CHIP-funded coverage. The program has proven successful in reducing the number of uninsured children in the United States. Prior to CHIP’s establishment in 1997, there were 10 million uninsured children. By 2012, the number of uninsured children for more than a year had dropped to less than 5 million, and by 2016, it further decreased to 3.8 million.
Although the majority of the decrease in uninsured children can be attributed to higher enrollment in Medicaid, CHIP has played a significant part in extending coverage to children from families with slightly higher incomes. The presence of CHIP and the related outreach initiatives have been acknowledged for their contribution to increased enrollment in both programs.
Since its inception in 1997, the program has received support from both Republicans and Democrats, and members of both parties have collaborated to extend and provide funding for the program throughout the years.
Although there have been debates and differences of opinion regarding funding levels and program design, there is no indication that Republicans are actively seeking to undermine CHIP. In fact, in January 2018, Congress passed a six-year extension of CHIP with bipartisan support, despite some disagreements regarding the program’s funding methods.
It is important to acknowledge that political opinions and priorities can shift over time, and there is a possibility that certain politicians or groups may adopt critical stances towards CHIP in the future. Given the current situation with a potential government shutdown, it is difficult to predict what programs might be subject to budget cuts or changes.