Demise of insurance program is devastating to millions of children

Timothy McBride, professor at the Brown School

 

A month has passed since Congress allowed the funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire. While states are using available funds to keep the program in place until Congress acts, eventually if they do not act this could lead to the demise of one of the most successful government programs ever implemented.

The CHIP program covers more than 9 million low-income children across the U.S. In Missouri, roughly 90,000 children are covered by CHIP and more than 600,000 by a combination of CHIP and Medicaid.

Largely as a result of the CHIP program, the uninsured rate for children has dropped by 57 percent from the time that CHIP passed to 2016, from a peak of 12.5 percent to 5.3 percent.

In the short run, most states can continue paying for CHIP for at least a few weeks if not months, using funds carried forward from previous years. However, the time is rapidly approaching when the first few states will run out of money to pay for CHIP, requiring these states to cut off the coverage, or cut other spending. Reportedly about 10 states may run out of funding for CHIP before the end of this year.

Read the full piece in St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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