Overview of the Children’s Health Insurance Program

By ROGER STARK  | 
POLICY NOTES
|
Feb 12, 2018

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Key Findings

  1. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a joint federal and state insurance plan for children whose families earn too much money for Medicaid eligibility. 
     
  2. CHIP is similar to Medicaid in that it is funded through a combination of federal and state taxpayer dollars. However federal taxpayers contribute on average 70 percent of the costs of CHIP rather than the 50 percent in Medicaid.
     
  3. CHIP is more flexible than Medicaid and states have more leeway in designing their programs.
     
  4. Families of four that earn up to $78,000 per year qualify for CHIP in Washington state.
     
  5. The fundamental question is why a family that earns almost $80,000 a year can not find private health insurance at a reasonable cost – especially to cover children.
     
  6. Government regulations and benefit mandates have increased the price of private health insurance to unaffordable levels for millions of American families.
     
  7. Rather than more government intrusion into our health care system, the best solution is health care reform that allows all patients, including single adults and families with children, to be active consumers, in charge of their own health care.

Introduction
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a joint federal and state insurance plan for children whose families earn too much money for Medicaid eligibility. CHIP began with bi-partisan support as an amendment added to the federal Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

Congress originally funded the program for ten years. CHIP was refunded and expanded significantly in 2009 under the Obama Administration and a Democratic Congress. The last funding reauthorization occurred on January 22, 2018, and will run for six years.

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