Stakes high for California without renewed CHIP funding

The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides affordable, pediatric-appropriate health coverage to nearly 9 million children nationwide, including 2 million children and pregnant women in California. CHIP coverage provides important preventive services including well-child checkups, immunizations and dental care. Together the CHIP and Medicaid programs in California have cut the rate of uninsured children in our state from 10.3 percent in 2001 to the current historic low of 3.8 percent.

Despite broad bipartisan support, Congress neglected to take action to extend 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.  

Congress’ failure to reauthorize CHIP will lead to hard choices for California’s governor and legislature on how to fill the large hole in the state budget — potentially up to $1 billion. The loss in funding may require that funds be pulled from various programs, potentially affecting access to dental care by reducing benefits, reimbursement or more.

Over the course of this year, California has made several positive steps toward increasing access to dental care through the Legislature’s reinstatement of the remaining dental benefits for adult Denti-Cal enrollees, effective Jan. 1, 2018, and the unprecedented investment of Proposition 56 funds to improve provider reimbursement rates. California cannot afford to slide backward in the provision of oral health benefits.  

In order to protect dental coverage for CHIP enrolled children and pregnant women, Congress must act now. CDA is calling on its members to help protect coverage for children and hard-fought improvements in the Denti-Cal program. Urge your United States senators and representative to renew CHIP funding immediately.

For more information, visit cda.org or contact CDA Public Affairs at 916.554.4984.

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California’s CHIP funding will run out next month and the state will be confronted with a huge budget gap for CHIP children’s Medi-Cal coverage, potentially as much as $1 billion dollars or more. CDA is calling on dentists to act now to protect dental and health care coverage for millions of children and pregnant women in California. Contact your senators and representative in Congress to urge them to take swift action to extend CHIP funding.