Funding CHIP for 10 years would actually save $6 billion: CBO

  • Funding CHIP for 10 years would actually save $6 billion: CBO

Funding CHIP for 10 years would actually save $6 billion: CBO

Federal budget watchdogs have drastically lowered their estimate of what it will take to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) because of 3 factors related to tax law changes affecting the Affordable Care Act at the end of previous year that basically make it cheaper to insure children through CHIP than through insurance marketplaces. The program covers more than 9 million children nationwide, 400,000 of whom are in Texas.

CHIP rules require states to return any unspent grant money into a "redistribution pool" which provides supplementary funds to states that run out of money for the program.

The CBO based its report on a Senate Bill to extend CHIP funding for five years. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) said he plans to bring a six-year extension of CHIP to the floor for a vote next week.

The uncertainty surrounding federal funding for the insurance program has him rethinking his current job as a non-profit attorney along with every routine purchase. But that appears to have been a gross miscalculation, because the Trump administration said Friday that some states would start running out of money after January 19. The delay in reauthorizing CHIP has confused children's health advocates because both parties have supported CHIP since its creation in 1997.

Ariel Haughton of Pittsburgh said she's upset her federal lawmakers have left CHIP in flux for her two children and millions of kids around the country.

If that accident happened later this year, though, Natali, 50, of Aliquippa, Pa., might be scrambling. Many can not afford coverage in the private market.

"It's creating a lot of anxiety about not having insurance and the kids getting sick", she said. By contrast, CHIP costs the federal government roughly $14.5 billion a year, or $145 billion over 10 years.

Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician, said families are reacting with "fear and disbelief" to CHIP's uncertain future.

This appears to be the case even though Congress had been expected to maintain the program's operations until at least the end of March, according to federal health officials.

"If CHIP coverage disappears, we run the risk of kids going without care or emergency room visits going up", he said.

"This is a critical program that serves thousands of Alaskans, and I remain committed to finding a comprehensive and long-term solution for it", Rep. Don Young said. They may not know that the state-branded programs they use, such as BadgerCare Plus in Wisconsin, Healthy Kids in Florida and All Kids in Alabama, are all part of CHIP.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said she's frustrated with Congress for not making the bill a priority.