June 12,2003

Statement of Senator Max Baucus on Child Health Improvement Program Extension


We have before us now S. 312, which would extend the availability of unspent Children’s HealthInsurance Program funds that would otherwise return to the Treasury. The bill before us represents abicameral, bipartisan compromise. We included an earlier version of this bill in last fall’s provider bill.

This year’s budget resolution includes a reserve fund to cover the costs of this bill. And this bill fallswithin the amount specified in that reserve fund. The underlying problem of unspent CHIP funds is largely atiming problem. Funds allotted in the early years of the CHIP program accumulated while states workedthrough the start-up process and established functioning programs.

Now that state CHIP programs are fully operational and have enrolled more than 5 million children,the programs are threatened with the loss of funding that they need to keep those children enrolled.

I urge my Colleagues to act favorably on this bill and not to amend it. The Budget Committee hasadvised us that a change in the bill that would affect spending in future fiscal years would create a 60-votebudget point of order against the bill, as it would cause the bill to exceed the funding stream detailed in thebudget resolution.

And we must enact this legislation by the end of June, or HHS will impose its own redistribution formulaon the states. Any change to the current bill would seriously jeopardize its chances for enactment by the endof the month.

I urge my Colleagues to report this bill favorably. Thank you.

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