CHIP funding extension protects health coverage for millions in California

Affordable pediatric-appropriate health coverage for 2 million children and pregnant women in California and nearly 9 million children nationwide will continue through fiscal year 2027 as a result of a budget deal passed Feb. 9 by Congress and signed by President Trump. The agreement ended the second, if brief, government shutdown in a month. Congress struck a short-term spending deal Jan. 22, three days into the first government shutdown that resulted when immigration negotiations failed. The earlier spending bill funded CHIP for six years and the Feb. 9 bill adds an additional four years of funding.

“CDA is pleased to see bipartisan congressional efforts prevail in the effort to extend CHIP funding. As a result of this coverage, 2 million children and pregnant women in our state will continue to benefit from access to oral health services,” CDA President Natasha Lee, DDS, said in a statement.

CDA and ADA last fall began advocating for CHIP reauthorization after Congress neglected to extend funding for the program before its scheduled expiration in September. The lapse, CDA warned, would create uncertainty for California and 15 other states that were likely to run out of funding for the program by the end of January. As part of the advocacy campaign, CDA called on dentists to contact their U.S. senators and representatives to urge them to renew CHIP funding.

“With continued CHIP funding, dentists can continue serving thousands of children and helping to combat tooth decay, which remains the most common chronic condition among children and adolescents, impacting school performance and attendance,” Lee said. “We thank the dentists who answered the call to action and kept the issue of access to care in front of Congress.”

Besides dental care, state-administered CHIP provides important preventive services such as well-child checkups and immunizations for uninsured children up to age 19 whose family income is too high to qualify for Medicaid. Together the CHIP and Medicaid programs in California have cut the rate of uninsured children in the state from 10.3 percent in 2001 to the current historic low of 3.8 percent.

For more information, contact CDA Public Affairs at 916.554.4984.

Updated: 2/9/18

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The following is a statement from Natasha Lee, DDS, president of the California Dental Association regarding Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 state budget that was released today.

Despite broad bipartisan support, Congress neglected to take action to extend Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) funding before it expired Sept. 30. The consequences of Congress’ delay are creating stressful uncertainty for states and families across the country. Sixteen states, including California, will run out of funding for the CHIP program by the end of January. CDA is calling on its members to help protect coverage for children and hard-fought improvements in the Denti-Cal program.