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Jan
19

What’s going on with health coverage for poor kids?

The current clustermess in DC around keeping the government funded is just bizarre.

What’s most bizarre is politicians are holding poor kids hostage, which is the only way to describe what is happening.

Republicans are refusing to consider legislation – requested by the President – to address DACA as part of the budget resolution. This is a core requirement for many Democrats, as is long-term funding for CHIP.

Background – CHIP has long been a bi-partisan program, championed by Sen Orrin Hatch R UT among other staunch conservatives. It provides insurance for poor kids and pregnant women, and has been funded for decades with nary a blip. Till now.  CHIP has been unfunded since October; most states are about to run out of residual funds, which would throw about 8 million poor kids and pregnant women off the program – and leave them with no insurance. 

This makes no sense.  If the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program is re-authorized for a decade, it SAVES $6 billion.  There is NO fiscal reason to NOT re-authorize CHIP, just a political one. The GOP is using the re-authorization in an attempt to force Democrats to support a budget proposal that is anathema to many Democrats – and more than a few Republicans as well.

It appears likely that we’ll be forced into a government shutdown over this, which will end up costing taxpayers a LOT more money than if the party in power had just passed a budget months ago as it was supposed to.  In case you aren’t as nerdy as your author, there have been four separate continuing resolutions to keep the government funding since Trump was inaugurated – and there are NO plans by the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss a budget for this year – or next for that matter.

Moreover, the Committee, which is dominated by Republicans hasn’t even bothered to hold a vote on a budget over the last year.

If this stuff makes you nuts, well, it should.

What does this mean for you?

Be very thankful you aren’t a poor kid.  And really mad about what this idiots are doing to poor kids. 


2 thoughts on “What’s going on with health coverage for poor kids?”

    1. Hi John – here’s the best summary I’ve seen – basically families who don’t have their kids covered via CHIP will sign up for ACA, where that family coverage is subsidized.

      From Slate:
      If CHIP lapses, many more children will almost certainly be enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, where their plans will be subsidized by the federal government. And over the long term, it may actually be less expensive for Washington to cover those kids via CHIP than to pay for their private insurance. (Update, 8:58 PM): According to another Congressional staffer I spoke with, the 10-year extension also saves money because it more generously funds the program during the second half of the decade, which results in more families dropping expensive-to-subsidize exchange coverage in favor of CHIP.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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