Since Fall 2017 the Clark-Fox Policy Institute has been raising awareness on the importance of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides federal matching funds to states to provide health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage. Funding for CHIP expired in September 2017 and many states were set to run out of money by this March. After an almost four-month delay, Congress recently reauthorized funding of the program for another six years.
However, the recent reauthorization of CHIP may not do enough to protect the almost 90,000 Missouri children in the program. That’s because legislators have not reauthorized funding for many of the community health clinics and centers these children and their families rely on to access care. According to Joe Pierle of the Missouri Primary Care Association, about $70 million that local health programs receive annually is at risk in Missouri. The Missouri Primary Care Association includes 29 community health centers and 200 locations that serve about 550,000 Missourians annually. Clark-Fox Policy Institute Director Gary Parker stated, “Health care coverage is only effective when coupled with access to quality care by qualified providers. Otherwise, the insurance has little value.”
Since it was signed into law 20 years ago, CHIP has held strong bi-partisan support and has provided healthcare to working families. The program has helped significantly reduce the number of uninsured children throughout the United States.
Previously the Clark-Fox Policy Institute published the following on CHIP: