As Congress Considers Funding For CHIP, Nevada Weighs Options

Jan 18, 2018

Credit The National Council

Updated at 7:00 p.m.  

The House passed a short-term funding bill Thursday evening, which included a six-year extension for the Children's Health Insurance Program. The legislation is headed to the Senate for a vote on Friday. It's unclear if Republicans have the 60 votes needed for the continuing resolution, which would avert a government shutdown.  

Updated at 11:00 a.m.

Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which serves the nation’s low-income children is tied up in the current short-term funding bill before Congress. Nevada Medicaid officials are looking at contingency plans in the event lawmakers don’t commit more money. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports.

Back in September, Congress failed to meet the deadline to reauthorize funding. In December, Nevada received $5.6 million from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is keeping CHIP afloat until March. There are more than 27 thousand children enrolled.

Cody Phinney is with Nevada Medicaid. She says asking the state’s Interim Finance Committee for temporary funding is an option if the federal government fails to come through.

“What we would be doing there is requesting permission to use other Medicaid funds," Phinney explains. "And then in April there would be another opportunity to discuss with the legislature whether we wanted to continue moving other funds into this program.”

A current house continuing resolution package includes a six-year renewal of CHIP. The vote is expected today and may be close.

“We’re very hopeful for that continuing resolution bill," Phinney explains, "if that should not happen, then right now it’s our intention to go forward with our plan to move state dollars around and continue the program until we see what happens.”

House Republicans are under pressure to approve a stop-gap measure to avoid a government shutdown.