Extending CHIP Would Actually Save Taxpayers Money: CBO

Extending CHIP Would Actually Save Taxpayers Money: CBO

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.

Children from lower-income families could soon lose access to affordable health care because the Republican leaders in Congress have failed to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Even more worrying, after partisan squabbles allowed the program to lapse September 30, is that "it's unclear how long [that funding] will actually allow all states to continue operating their CHIP programs", warns the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Meanwhile, the almost $3 billion for CHIP that Congress passed in December could run out in just a few weeks. Under the pool's restrictions, states with extra money would have to give it to states that are running low. Every Child Matters, a non-partisan non-profit, urged the public to call on their elected representatives to "act immediately on a 5-year CHIP reauthorization". But the program is in danger of becoming a casualty of Republican brinkmanship in Washington.

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.


Dr. Joanne Hilden, a pediatric cancer physician in Aurora, Colo., and past president of the American Society of Hematology-Oncology, said cancer patients who are anxious their CHIP funding will run out can't schedule care ahead of time.

A deal between the two sides should theoretically be easier to reach now. Orrin Hatch, who heads the Senate's Finance Committee, CBO Director Keith Hall said that a five-year extension of CHIP would cost the government $800 million over a 10-year period. By comparison, the tax overhaul passed in December is expected to add $1.8 trillion to the debt over 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. "So it's just more reason for the federal government to take care of what should have been a slam-dunk re-authorization".

"If Congress does not fully reauthorize CHIP by [the end of March], Texas would pursue redistribution funding as it did previously with CMS", Williams said.

Last month's temporary budget fix, H.R. 1370, also provided $550 million for community health centers that serve more than 25 million, many in struggling communities - enough to last only through March 31. She can not afford private coverage for her two children on her dental hygienist pay.

With poor healthcare and high gun homicide rates, American children have a 70 percent higher chance of dying before adulthood than other rich countries.

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