Colorado has notified residents that the federally funded Children’s Health Insurance Program will shut down in early 2018 if Congress doesn’t act to renew funding that expired on Sept. 30; the state appears to be the first to formally make such an announcement. A state press release says its program has enough money to continue operating until Jan. 31 of next year.
Since the CHIP program is administered at the state level, the funding shortfall has different effects in different places, but estimates indicate that as many as four million children nationwide could lose coverage if it’s not renewed. (The program covers children in relatively low-income families that do not qualify for Medicaid.) The Washington Post reported last week that “nearly a dozen” states may soon issue warnings similar to the one Colorado has sent.
The House passed a CHIP funding bill earlier this month, but it includes measures to finance the program by cutting other health spending that are unacceptable to Democrats in the Senate (recall that Senate Democrats retain some power because of the filibuster). The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on its own version of a CHIP bill.