Washington – First Focus opposes rolling back enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under consideration as part of the Common Sense Savings Act of 2016 introduced by U.S. Rep Joe Pitts, R-PA.

Scheduled for a House Energy and Commerce Committee Markup session tomorrow, members of the Health Subcommittee will consider rolling back the Enhanced Federal Matching Assistance Program (E-FMAP) rate that states receive for CHIP effective March 16, 2016 –  a provision that would eliminate the standing 23 percent federal E-FMAP increase enacted under the Affordable Care Act in mid-year.

Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, said:

“Rolling back funding for CHIP that the federal government has already promised to states is harmful, as it undermines the agreement that was passed on a bipartisan basis as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). States have already set their budget for the current year and rolling back funding for CHIP effective March 16 would destabilize coverage for millions of children.

“Disrupting the flow of federal matching funds in the middle of the fiscal year would be detrimental to our nation’s children and the working families who rely on CHIP. Changing the financing formula for CHIP in mid-cycle would create disincentives and disruptions for state budgets that would undermine coverage for 8 million children who need it most.

“While it’s imperative that we continue making progress to make CHIP more efficient and more affordable, we cannot afford to backtrack on coverage in the middle of the year. The federal government cannot break its promises to states when it comes to services and programs that are critical to the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children. The impact of the rollback would be devastating for CHIP and the children covered by the program and so we strongly oppose this measure.”

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First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.firstfocus.org.