Celebrating a CHIP victory, but looking ahead

By the CDHP team

It was a sparkling day in the Rose Garden Tuesday, where President Obama signed the law that formally extended funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program through September 2017. That bipartisan achievement was indeed worth a White House garden party, and CDHP was honored to join the celebration. 

Amid that splendid setting, I thought of the Conners, hard-working Alabama parents who rely on CHIP for their two boys. Paxton, age 2, will now have coverage through his preschool years, and Jackson, 7, will reach fourth grade with dental and medical benefits his parents can afford. 

What happens after that? That's where we're putting our attention.

Over the next year, we need more detailed and timely information about how families are using, and paying for, pediatric dental services via CHIP and in the ever-evolving state insurance marketplaces. Solid data is the cornerstone of good policymaking, and it helps all concerned to evaluate and strengthen these programs. We call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide data on utilization and access to dental and oral health services in separate CHIP programs.

For the marketplaces, data must include how many children and adolescents are enrolled in all forms of dental coverage, whether they’re accessing the care they need, and details on out-of-pocket costs.

Ultimately, all that data goes to one purpose: To ensure that Paxton, Jackson and millions of other children have continuous, affordable health benefits throughout childhood. 

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