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Extending CHIP for 10 years rather than 5 saves $6 billion, CBO

14 January 2018

By now perhaps you've heard that Republicans in Congress are denying health care to poor children, because what else would those robber barons do?

Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families (CCF) predicted in a report this month that 11 states would run out of CHIP funding before the end of February if Congress doesn't approve a long-term solution.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that an extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would cost the government $800 million over 10 years. Before the short-term funding patch, federal officials redistributed reserve funds to states to keep their programs running.

After Congress provided short-term funding, CT reopened enrollment in CHIP and indicated coverage would continue through February up until March 1, according to Kaiser.

Funding the program - which provides health insurance to almost 9 million children from low-income families - for 10 years would save the federal government $6 billion, according to the CBO's report. It's a drastic step, since the federal government pays, on average, almost 90 percent of CHIP costs.

Before Congress acted last month, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress, had projected that Arizona, the District of Columbia, Minnesota and North Carolina would exhaust CHIP funding by December 31.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Without CHIP, dental hygienist Marina Natali says she couldn't afford health coverage for her sons, 12-year-old Ciro (right) and 15-year-old Marcus. Ed Markey tweeted on Wednesday.

Federal funding for CHIP originally expired October 1. The House plan includes a controversial funding provision - opposed by Democrats - that takes millions of dollars from the Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund and increases Medicare premiums for some higher-earning beneficiaries. It would extend the Children's Health Insurance Program through 2022.

The drastic change in CHIP's estimated cost is a result of the Republican tax law that President Donald Trump signed in December, according to the CBO. Wyden has always supported extending CHIP for as long as possible, including a permanent extension that would save taxpayers billions of dollars while giving kids long-term health care security.

Also on Friday, we learned that the price tag for extending CHIP for five years has shrunk dramatically.

A third of the states anticipate running out of funds by the end of January, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Extending CHIP for 10 years rather than 5 saves $6 billion, CBO