On the eve of today’s mark up in the House Energy and
Commerce Subcommittee on Health, CBO released a more detailed cost estimate of
H.R. 1683, the bill to repeal the Medicaid and CHIP stability protections (aka,
It highlights that the debate over the future of the stability
protections is very much about our children – repealing the protections could
decimate CHIP and potentially lead to an unraveling of the nation’s
record-breaking success in covering kids.
Here is what CBO specifically says about the estimated impact of
repealing the stability protections on kids.
- In the next few years, up to 400,000 people a year will
lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage, mostly because states will set up new
administrative barriers to enrollment.
Two out of three of those losing coverage will be kids.
- As we head into broader implementation of health reform
in 2014 and beyond, CBO finds that H.R. 1683 will have an increasingly harsh impact on CHIP. By 2016, half of
states will entirely eliminate their CHIP programs and the remaining states
will scale back coverage for children, according to the CBO report.
- By 2016, 1.7 million children lose CHIP. Of these kids, 300,000 will become
uninsured, while 700,000 will go into exchange coverage and 700,000 into employer-based
insurance. The coverage that
children receive will not necessarily be even close to as good as CHIP. As CBO says, families “would be
required to pay a larger share of the cost for insurance through exchanges as
compared to CHIP.”
At a time when those pushing for deficit reduction
routinely cite the future of our children as the reason why we need to act,
this new CBO analysis highlights that there are much better ways to come up
with savings than cutting our investments in the health of future generations. (Overall, CBO
estimates that the repeal of the stability protections generates a relatively
paltry $2.1 billion in federal savings, but as we’ve discussed earlier, this
masks the outsize impact on federal CHIP outlays.) Rescinding the stability protections will mean many states end or slash
their CHIP programs. Millions of
children in middle-income and working families will lose a trustworthy, proven
source of coverage that allows them to see a doctor when they get sick. Many would be left uninsured with no
other good options for coverage.
There is simply no credible way to argue that this is good for the
future of our children.