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

CHIP funding will run dry in several states by the end of January

It has now been more than 100 days since the Republican-controlled Congress allowed funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to lapse, and despite several infusions of stopgap funding from both Capitol Hill and the Department of Health and Human Services, states could run out of money as early as next week. It cost $15 billion in 2016, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week said it couldn't guarantee funding to all states past January 19.

"I'm proud to announce that the first piece of legislation I'll co-sponsor will ensure a long-term funding solution for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)", Jones said in a statement Thursday.

In a bipartisan appeal on behalf of the National Governors Association, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of MA and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of OR called on Congress - after it allowed CHIP and community health center funding to lapse a year ago - to consider the "urgent needs of states and families" by restoring money. Funding for the program in MA in now expected to run out by April.

"Like the CHIP Program, Community Health Centers have enjoyed long bipartisan support for the high-quality care that they provide our families".

Before Christmas, Congress allocated $2.85 billion to the program, saying that the money would take care of the children's needs until the end of March.

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"Americans are exhausted of waiting on their government to do the right thing - lives are depending on it. Let's end this waiting game and #FundCHIPNow", U.S. Sen.

The Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement to extend the program for five years but didn't unite on a funding plan.

"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.

"It really seems to be the impact of our fragmented health care system", said Ashish Thakar, the study's lead author. "It would be devastating to those children who wouldn't get those services". And since the Republican tax bill makes Obamacare more and more expensive over time, it makes CHIP more and more cost-effective over time.

On Dec. 28, Congressman Joe Kennedy sent out a fundraising email heralding the recent birth of his son, and contrasting his family's happiness with the "panic and fear" that others were experiencing amid uncertainty over CHIP funding. It provides health coverage for millions of kids, including almost 115,000 children from Indiana. If they are serious, they can start with CHIP.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a Madison, Wis., pediatrician and vice president of the state's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said many parents and doctors have been told for months that Congress would firm up long-term funding for CHIP, but those promises have been dashed.

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