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One hundred days ago, Congress let the funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire. For one hundred days, a program that covers 9 million American children has been left in this strange limbo, with the worst consequences being averted but nonetheless creeping closer.
On Friday, if you missed it, we got a new warning from the Trump administration: The short-term CHIP extension that passed in December, which was supposed to last through March, could actually only guarantee the program would stay funded through January 19 — or maybe the end of the month.
Within the next two weeks, states could start running out of CHIP funding, which could force them to freeze enrollment or drop kids off the rolls.
Also on Friday, we learned that the price tag for extending CHIP for five years has shrunk dramatically. The CBO estimated the five-year extension Congress is considering now costs only $800 million, down from $8.3 billion, after Republicans repealed the individual mandate in their tax bill.
The mechanics are wonky, but this is the gist: Repealing the mandate increases ACA premiums; because ACA coverage is the alternative to CHIP for many kids, it would cost the federal government more if CHIP were to end and those children moved to the ACA markets. That makes extending CHIP cheaper, from the government’s point of view.
That’s a drop in the bucket for Congress. Yet here we are, 100 days in, and Congress hasn’t figured out when they’re going to resolve this.
So what happens if kids are frozen out of coverage or their state is forced to drop them? It Read More Here