INDIANAPOLIS — The failure of Congress to approve continued funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program beyond Sept. 30 should have no immediate impact on the more than 100,000 Hoosier children it covers.
A federal commission that monitors CHIP funding estimates that Indiana has enough money in unspent prior-year CHIP allotments to maintain CHIP without changes through May 2018.
Jim Gavin, spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, concurred. He said, "Indiana's CHIP program has sufficient funding to continue normal operations for the next several months."
Indiana's CHIP is a component of Hoosier Healthwise and covers 6,489 children in Lake County, 1,660 in Porter County and 1,529 in LaPorte County, according to the FSSA.
On Wednesday, committees in the U.S. House and Senate separately began working on legislation to restore federal CHIP funding, which pays the majority of health care costs for CHIP participants.
Earlier CHIP spending proposals got put on hold while Republican lawmakers repeatedly attempted to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
CHIP predates Obamacare. It was established in 1997 to provide health coverage for children whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but still struggle to afford private health insurance.
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., a longtime CHIP supporter, said he'll continue pushing the Senate to restore CHIP funding.
"Unfortunately partisan efforts to repeal health care have led to uncertainty, higher health care costs for Hoosiers, and delayed Congress from important work, like reauthorizing the CHIP program," Donnelly said.