Senator Bob Casey’s Children’s CHIP Amendment Will Protect Millions of Children from Being Worse Off
Millions of children will be worse off than they are now if the House health reform bill becomes law. The House bill ends the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2013 and would move as many as 10 million CHIP children to a new, untested and more expensive Health Insurance Exchange where their parents will pay more for fewer benefits. The Senate health reform bill being debated now keeps CHIP until 2019 but fails to fully fund it or make system improvements to ensure CHIP children get and stay enrolled and receive the care they need wherever they live. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has filed an amendment to the Senate health reform bill that would make children better off – not worse off!
The Casey Children's CHIP Amendment keeps and strengthens CHIP through 2019. It:
- Guarantees funding for all children eligible for CHIP. They will then transition into the Exchange in 2019 if the coverage (including benefits, out-of-pocket and premium costs and other features) in the Exchange is comparable to CHIP.
- Makes CHIP more accessible. Offers financial incentives to states to eliminate barriers that currently prevent millions of CHIP eligible children from getting and staying enrolled. It would continue outreach and enrollment grants and make it easier to establish and verify eligibility for CHIP.
- Ensures children the full range of health and mental health services they need. These include the preventive and specialized services children receive in Medicaid.
- Establishes a national health care safety net for CHIP children. Coverage will be more affordable for children in families with incomes at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($55,125 for a family of four) who will be eligible for CHIP no matter what state they live in. The 22 states and the District of Columbia that currently cover children in families above 250 percent also will be eligible for increased federal funding to help them cover CHIP children. Families will be protected from paying significantly more out-of-pocket than they do today for health coverage for their children in CHIP.
- Invests in Vulnerable Children and Families. Half of all cost savings from the amendment will be invested in a Fund for Vulnerable Children and Families to combat infant mortality, assist low income children with autism spectrum disorder or other disabilities, and improve health and mental health services for children who are homeless and those in foster care. The remaining half will help to reduce the deficit.