CBO: Reauthorizing CHIP Will Save $6 Billion

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A top Republican state senator is warning that Florida will not able to keep a major children's health-insurance program running if Congress doesn't authorize additional money in the near future.

That's why I am outraged that the majority in Congress has refused to act to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program, commonly referred to as CHIP.

It has been more than 100 days since the CHIP program expired on September 30.

State officials submitted a request with the federal government on November 16 for an extra $90 million to support CHIP in the state until February.

Meanwhile, the almost $3 billion for CHIP that Congress passed in December could run out in just a few weeks.

CHIP, a federal-state matching program that serves almost nine million moderately low-income children, is among the urgent priorities that seem to have gotten lost amid congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare and revise the tax code.

All five members of West Virginia's congressional delegation have said they support CHIP funding.

"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.

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That may have gotten easier with a January 5 estimate showing that a Senate bill to extend CHIP would increase deficits by $800 million over 10 years, far lower than the previous projection of more than $8 billion.

"It's nonsensical and it's frustrating and it's ridiculous, honestly", said Brown, vice chair of the National Governors Association Health and Human Services Committee.

Cornyn has previously promised funding for CHIP was imminent.

"This uncertainty and the ongoing inaction by Congress increases the likelihood that states will take action to prepare families for the worst".

About 1.7 million children in 20 states and the District of Columbia could be at risk of losing their CHIP coverage in February because of the funding shortfall, according to a report released Wednesday by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The American Academy of Pediatrics will hold a conference call Friday to urge Congress to pass long-term funding for CHIP.

"This is good news in the short term, but Congress needs to get moving on a clean, 5-year CHIP extension as soon as possible", said Anne Dunkelberg, associate director for the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, in an emailed statement. As it happens, that estimate only included seven years of funding, for reasons I couldn't quite figure out.

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