Funding extended for CHIP
12/29/2017, 12:29 p.m.
Nine million American children — including 68,000 in Virginia — will continue to have government-supported health insurance for three more months.
Just before Christmas, Congress passed a stop-gap funding bill that extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program until March 31.
Most states, including Virginia, were running out of money to pay for the program; the congressional action is expected to provide a brief reprieve.
Virginia officials had notified families that without congressional action, the state program, known as FAMIS, would end on Jan. 31.
In additional to extending CHIP, Congress also extended funding for community health centers that serve people who cannot afford health insurance or have only limited coverage with high deductibles.
Congress stripped funding for the Centers for Disease Control’s Prevention and Public Health Fund to help cover the cost of extending CHIP and funding the health centers, and that could ultimately impact federal contributions to state and local public health offices.
Separately, the funding bill prevented a shutdown of government operations, which were set to run out of money last Friday. The bill extended government funding through Jan. 19.
One issue left unaddressed was the status of children of immigrants. Known as Dreamers, more than 800,000 such children, many of whom have lived their entire life in the United States, are becoming subject to deportation following the Trump administration’s decision to revoke protections created by President Obama. — JEREMY M. LAZARUS