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

Michael Conroy  AP

Michael Conroy AP

Funding for CHIP expired more than 100 days ago, after Congress failed to reauthorize the program.

Jones became the 24 co-sponsor of the bill, the Keep Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017. The program is for children from families who can't afford health insurance but whose income disqualifies them from Medicaid.

According to The Hill, legislators in Washington D.C. could add renewing CHIP to a government funding bill that has to pass before January 19.

But it also expects that extending the CHIP program even further will actually save the government money.

In December, Congress passed short-term funding for the program - injecting it with $3 billion through March 2018.

Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families analyzed Children's Health Insurance Programs across the country and found that 1.7 million children in 21 of the 24 states facing shortages are at risk of losing coverage by the end of February if additional funding is not approved.

The Congressional Budget Office recently revised their estimate on the cost of long-term funding for CHIP, saying it would take $800 million to finance the program for five years instead of the previously estimated $8 billion.

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Housed in the Department of Health, the group would focus on issues such as increasing efficiencies in the KidCare program.

"Extending funding for CHIP for 10 years yields net savings to the federal government because the federal costs of the alternatives to providing coverage through CHIP (primarily Medicaid, subsidized coverage in the marketplaces, and employment-based insurance) are larger than the costs of providing coverage through CHIP during that period", the nonpartisan budget agency writes. But federal officials miscalculated. 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". Most states can not afford to make up the difference and will have to freeze enrollment or terminate coverage when their federal funding runs out.

"As a previous supporter of the CHIP program, Sen". Many can not afford coverage in the private market. "That's covered by CHIP".

Dr. Todd Wolynn, a Pittsburgh pediatrician, said families are reacting with "fear and disbelief" to CHIP's uncertain future. "They might not have a family physician, or a clear support system".

If Pennsylvania cancels CHIP, she likely won't bring Javier, 2, for his two-year checkup unless there's something clearly wrong with him.

Keeping kids healthy should be a top priority, he said. "We will have to decide between their health and spending the money on something else", she said.

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