House Proposal Would Allow States To Keep $2.7 Billion in Unspent CHIP Funds
Two "key" House lawmakers yesterday introduced legislation that would allow states to keep approximately $2.7 billion in unspent CHIP funds that otherwise would be sent back to the federal government, Reuters/Detroit Free Press reports (Reuters/Detroit Free Press, 2/6). The joint proposal by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) would extend through fiscal year 2004 the availability of $1.2 billion in unused CHIP funds from FY 1998 and FY 1999 that expired Oct. 1. The bill would also extend for one more year the availability of $1.5 billion in expiring funds from FY 2000 and FY 2001. The $1.5 billion would be evenly distributed between states that have already used their CHIP allotments and states that have not. If the money is not made available to the states, approximately 900,000 children could lose their health coverage, CongressDaily/AM reports. A companion bill sponsored by Sens. John Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is being introduced in the Senate. The Bush administration's FY 2004 budget proposal would make the unused CHIP funds available, but only for one additional year (CongressDaily/AM, 2/6).
In related news, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday announced that the number of children enrolled in CHIP at some point in FY 2002 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia grew 15% from FY 2001, from 4.6 million children to 5.3 million. "The strategy is working for children across America, but we must and will do more," Thompson said (HHS release, 2/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.