HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that $6 billion in new federal funds will be made available to states and U.S. territories for fiscal year 2009 to provide health care to millions of children across America through their Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP).

The new funds for CHIP were made available by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 4. CHIPRA provides additional funding that will help states and territories maintain existing CHIP enrollment and expand their programs.

"We are taking an important step to provide quality, affordable health care to millions of children," Secretary Sebelius said at the Bergen
Family Center in Englewood, N.J. "Through CHIPRA, states and territories will receive additional funds to provide health insurance to 11 million children, including 4 million who were previously uninsured.  Parents now have more help if their children fall ill."

"In these difficult economic times, more and more families will turn to CHIP to assure their children’s continued access to critical health care services," Secretary Sebelius said. "To ensure our nation’s future, we must insure our children now."

Secretary Sebelius was joined by New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and other officials who have led the efforts to gain health insurance coverage for all the children of the Garden State and our nation.

"Thanks to our partners in Washington and through New Jersey’s hardworking Congressional delegation, the struggle to secure children’s
health legislation in our state is finally over," said Governor Jon S. Corzine. "At a time when our state and nation are facing substantial
economic challenges, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to provide access to quality health insurance for our uninsured children. I’m pleased that through our successful NJ FamilyCare program and new Express Lane option, we will continue to make great strides in reaching and enrolling every eligible child in New Jersey."

Of the $6 billion in new funding under CHIPRA, HHS has released more than $1 billion and expects to allocate the remainder to the states and territories by the end of September.  CHIP provides health insurance for children of working families whose incomes are too high for traditional Medicaid, but too low for either employer-sponsored family plans or other private coverage.

While CHIP is optional, each state and every territory operates a program. Similar to Medicaid, CHIP is jointly funded by states and the
federal government.  However, the federal government pays states a higher share of their CHIP costs than for their Medicaid programs.

Source: HHS