Medicaid is a joint state and federal health coverage program that has helped improve the health of children, low-income adults and families, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and older adults for over 50 years. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was established in 1997 to extend financial support to states in order to provide care to more children. Despite bipartisan support for CHIP and the great coverage gains in states that enacted Medicaid expansion, Medicaid and CHIP are both under attack in Congress.
Recently, the GOP released a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would also fundamentally restructure Medicaid. The plan would decrease the federal government’s commitment to states by changing the Medicaid funding structure to either a block grant or per capita cap, in turn directly impacting the effectiveness of CHIP. Restructuring Medicaid to either a block grant or per capita cap would also undermine the fundamental goal of Medicaid – to provide health care to the most vulnerable.