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Bipartisanship in Action: Senate Finance Leaders Reach Deal to Extend Children’s Health Insurance Program

Washington, D.C.– Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet made the following statement regarding the bipartisan agreement by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years:

“We commend Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden for their bipartisan proposal to fund and preserve health insurance for an additional five years to the estimated 9 million people who receive coverage under this vital program. Advancing their agreement through Congress would provide much needed continuity of coverage for CHIP families and states.

“CHIP is historically a bipartisan program, which BPC strongly supports. Since the enactment of this joint federal-state program in 1997, the percentage of uninsured children has dramatically decreased from 22.8 percent to 6.7 percent in 2015.

“Funding for the program is currently slated to expire at the end of this month. While most states would have sufficient funds to cover enrolled CHIP kids for several months beyond the expiration date, the most prudent thing for Congress to do now is to take the Senate Finance Committee’s lead and extend the program before September 30, fully offsetting spending so as not to add to the federal deficit.

“Extending the CHIP program soon will give states time to adjust their budgets, and federal policymakers time to address benefits and cost-sharing. In 2015, BPC released recommendations in its report The Role and Future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that would ensure high cost or coverage limitations of employer-sponsored and other insurance plans do not prevent children and their families from accessing health care.”

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