ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 256

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 30, 2017

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman  PATRICIA EGAN JONES

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblywoman  ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblywoman  CLEOPATRA G. TUCKER

District 28 (Essex)

Assemblywoman  JOANN DOWNEY

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywomen Pinkin, Jasey, Assemblymen Chiaravalloti, Wisniewski, Conaway and Houghtaling

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges Congress and President to enact long-term reauthorization of Children’s Health Insurance Program.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Concurrent Resolution urging Congress and the President of the United States to enact a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

 

Whereas, The Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP, is a state-federal partnership that provides a critical pathway for families with modest means to obtain health care coverage for their children; and

Whereas, CHIP provides health coverage to children whose families earn too much for them to qualify for Medicaid, and who cannot obtain affordable family coverage through their employer or the federal Health Insurance Marketplace; and

Whereas, Federal CHIP funds, in combination with matching state funds, help provide coverage to nearly 9 million children in the United States, including over 200,000 children in New Jersey; and

Whereas, The program has helped to reduce the national uninsured rate among children to five percent, well below the roughly 10 percent uninsured rate among nonelderly adults; and

Whereas, In 1997, Congress first created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the precursor to CHIP, with bipartisan support, and the program has continued to enjoy broad support from the public and elected officials from all states and major political parties; and

Whereas, The most recent reauthorization of CHIP, in 2015, extended the program for only two years, and Congress allowed it to expire on September 30, 2017; and

Whereas, Since the expiration of the federal program’s authority, New Jersey has lost its annual allotment of approximately $500 million, and like other states is maintaining its program with unspent allotments, which are insufficient to operate the program for more than a few months; and

Whereas, New Jersey expects its unspent funding to last through the spring of 2018, while many other states are anticipating that their funding will be expended even more quickly; and

Whereas, States cannot easily adapt to irregular federal funding streams, as they need time to plan programs and budgets, notify families and other stakeholders, make changes to eligibility systems, and train eligibility workers; and

Whereas, A complete expiration of CHIP would also impose new financial costs on states, which are required by federal law to continue certain children’s Medicaid coverage that is supported with CHIP funds, even if those CHIP funds cease to be provided by the federal government; and

Whereas, There is legislation currently under consideration in both houses of Congress to reauthorize CHIP for an additional five years, but differences in the two versions of the legislation and other political disagreements make enactment of such legislation uncertain; and

Whereas, It is therefore fitting and proper, and in the interests of the residents of New Jersey, for the Governor and the Legislature of the State of New Jersey to respectfully urge the United States Congress and the President of the United States to enact a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey (the Senate concurring):

 

     1.    The Legislature of New Jersey respectfully urges the United States Congress and the President of the United States to enact a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

 

     2.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate to the President of the United States, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from this State.

 

     3.    This resolution shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

  This resolution respectfully urges the United States Congress and the President of the United States to enact a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

     CHIP is a state-federal partnership that provides health care coverage to approximately 9 million American children, including over 200,000 children in New Jersey.  The program was authorized through the end of September 2017, and despite its broad bipartisan support, was not reauthorized before its expiration, resulting in New Jersey losing approximately $500 million in allotted federal funds.  States are now maintaining the program with unspent funds from prior years, but these funds are only sufficient for short-term continuation of the program.  Congress and the President must act to reauthorize long-term funding for the program to ensure children’s continued access to health care coverage.