A coalition of Ohio hospital groups and state agencies are urging passage of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP.
Additional funding for the program has been stalled in Congress for months and Ohio will face millions in budget shortfalls if CHIP is not renewed, said Greg Moody, director of the Ohio Office of Health Transformation during a conference call with journalists.
The CHIP program covers low-income kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but don't have employer-provided insurance or private insurance. In Ohio, about 220,000 children get health insurance through the program.
CHIP is administered by the state-run Medicaid program. The state covers the cost of children in the program then the federal government reimburses those costs at a rate of nearly 97 percent.
Federal funding for the health insurance program expired last September and despite some temporary money allocated by Congress, it will soon run out of federal matching dollars in Ohio.
Then, Medicaid money will kick in, but at a lower reimbursement rate from the federal government, Moody said.
“We agree it is the right thing to do to continue to cover these kids through the Medicaid program. Which means about $15 million a month, which starts to add up really quickly and that means we would have to take that money from other programs,” he said.
Moody and several hospital groups, including Cleveland’s University Hospital, held a teleconference with reporters to push for federal renewal of CHIP. The CHIP program is 20 years old and has received bipartisan support in the past.