Next Steps for CHIP: What is at Stake for Children?

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is an important complement to Medicaid, covering 8.9 million children with family incomes above Medicaid eligibility limits who often lack access to affordable private coverage.1 Together with Medicaid, which covers an additional 37.1 million children,2 the programs provide a strong base of coverage for our nation’s low-income children. New legislative authority is needed to continue funding for CHIP beyond September 2017. Failure to extend CHIP funding would likely result in coverage losses for children and increased financial pressure for states. These effects would be compounded if combined with the changes in the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would fundamentally restructure Medicaid by capping federal funding and eliminate longstanding federal protections and standards for children. Following are key facts that highlight what is at stake for children.

Expansions of Medicaid and CHIP have helped reduce the children’s uninsured rate to a record low of 5% (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Uninsured Rates Among Nonelderly Adults and Children, 1997-2016

All states have expanded eligibility for children through Medicaid and CHIP above federal minimum levels (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Income Eligibility Levels for Children in Medicaid/CHIP, January 2017

Medicaid and CHIP are major sources of coverage for our nation’s children (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Health Insurance Coverage of Children, 2015

Medicaid and CHIP cover over half of children of color (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Health Insurance Coverage of Children by Race/Ethnicity, 2014

Medicaid and CHIP provide children access to needed care (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Access to Care for Children by Health Insurance Status, 2015

Medicaid and CHIP promote improved health, education, and financial success for children over the long-term (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Research Findings on Effects of Medicaid and CHIP Coverage

  1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), FFY 2016 Number of Children Ever Enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, (Baltimore, MD: CMS, February 2017,

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  2. Ibid.

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