Dr David M. Cutler Highlights the Importance of Reauthorizing the CHIP Program

Every 5 years, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has to be reauthorized. This year the program has to be reauthorized by September, and that normally would have happened by now, except the issue has flown under the radar with the other big healthcare issues dominating Congress' attention, explained David. M. Cutler, PhD, of Harvard University.

Every 5 years, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has to be reauthorized. This year the program has to be reauthorized by September, and that normally would have happened by now, except the issue has flown under the radar with the other big healthcare issues dominating Congress' attention, explained David. M. Cutler, PhD, of Harvard University.

Transcript

There is a lot going on in health policy and US politics, is there anything you are afraid of going unnoticed that would normally get more attention?

There is a lot going on in health policy. I would say the biggest issue that’s flying under the radar now that people ought to be aware of is that CHIP authorization; the CHIP program needs to be reauthorized, and that has been going very slowly.

So the CHIP is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was created in the late 1990s, and every 5 years or so it’s needed to reauthorize it. Ordinarily, that would be no problem, everyone wants to cover children. This year, it expires in September. Normally, it would have been reauthorized by now, so the states can plan, because if they don’t have the money, they can’t cover people. And Congress hasn’t done it, and it’s sort of being held hostage to the general discussions about healthcare reform that are going on.

And I think that’s a real shame, both for, obviously, planning purposes for the states, but also for the individual children who may wind up not getting covered, or having a gap in coverage, or for when the states can’t plan what they want to do because Congress won’t reauthorize the program.