Vermont Officials Keeping Close Watch On Kids' Health Care Funding Stalled In Congress

Oct 9, 2017

A federal program that provides low-cost health insurance for Vermont children expired at the end of last month, but officials here say the state isn’t feeling a financial pinch just yet.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, expired on Sept. 30. The money supports Dr. Dynasaur, a state program that provides health benefits for children from low-income families.

Mary Kate Mohlman, the director of health care reform for the Scott administration, says Vermont still has money left over from the previous federal allocation.

“We believe February [or] March is when we’ll start to see those CHIP funds disappear,” Mohlman says.

If Congress still hasn’t reauthorized CHIP by then, however, Vermont will begin to lose out on the $21 million a year that CHIP provides for Dr. Dynasaur.

"Twenty-one million is a significant dollar [amount], but it would be something we’d have to work really closely with our partners to address through the budget and budget adjustment processes,” she says.

Mohlman says she’s optimistic Congress will restore funding before that happens. CHIP reauthorization bills have already passed key committees in the U.S. House and Senate.

“I think there’s always going to be some concern until it is actually reauthorized," Mohlman says.