CHIPping away at the deficit

Let’s imagine that there is a situation where a popular program can be extended.

Let’s imagine that popular program uses public-private partnerships.

Lets imagine that popular program’s extension needs no hard to agree upon pay-fors.

Let’s imagine that popular program’s extension is actually deficit reducing.

One would think that the vote to extend a deficit reducing popular program would be 422-7 in the House and 95-2 in the Senate.

That would be a nice strand of the multiverse to live in.

It is not our strand of the multiverse.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that extending CHIP saves money compared to the counterfactual of doing nothing.

The CBO thinks the following in their estimate:

  • Some kids currently on CHIP will get insured by going to the Exchanges
  • Some parents of kids currently on CHIP who are currently uninsured will get covered on the Exchanges
  • The repeal of the individual mandate increased projected premium subsidies
  • Fewer net kids will be covered even with spill-over coverage into the Exchanges

That to me sounds like a reasonable set of assumptions.  CHIP is cheaper for the federal government than paying Exchange subsidies for low to middle-income kids because CHIP is primarily paying near Medicare rates to providers instead of usually more than Medicare rates on the Exchanges.

A clean extension of CHIP saves money against the counterfactual of no change in policy or law.   That money could be used to enhance state match rates.  It could be used to reduce the total debt load.  It could be used for reinsurance.  It could be used for 5,001 things.

And yet, CHIP is still not being extended, 103 days after its long term funding was not renewed.



18 replies
  1. 1
    danielx says:

    CHIP primarily benefits the children of the poors, therefore it is unworthy because reasons.

  2. 2
    MomSense says:

    Republicans are sociopaths.

  3. 3
    laura says:

    I don’t know any other reason why this wouldn’t be approved for the 10 year, no cost benefit covering children, so I’m going with a top commenter’s opinion that muthphuckers are killers who kill….children (or at least are not concerned that children’s death will occur).

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Fuck the poor” is always more important, even if it raises the deficit.

    There are tons of examples of programs that have a small outlay that pays off big in the long term, but of course such programs benefit someone besides the Kochs and Mercers, therefore are utterly immoral and evil.

  5. 5
    SenyorDave says:

    @MomSense: Republicans are sociopaths.

    Ocam’s Razor

  6. 6
    SFAW says:

    Today’s example of Cleek’s Law in action

  7. 7
    Ohio Mom says:

    Let’s also remember who was the mother of this program: Hillary Clinton.

    I imagine not a few Republicans are enjoying sticking it to her by dismantling CHIP.

  8. 8
    SP says:

    One person’s savings is another person’s lost income.
    Who makes money by the CBO assumptions? Insurance companies receiving higher subsidies through exchanges; providers charging higher rates.

  9. 9

    @Villago Delenda Est: food stamps, unemployment insurance…

  10. 10
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Have the odious republicans given any reason why they are not extending CHIP? I mean besides the “we can’t afford it” that slobbered out of Orrin Hatch’s repulsive face.

    For the life of me, I just don’t get how such cruelty and meanness is not universally ridiculed and shunned. They are really going all in on this. I guess we will see how this works out for them.

  11. 11
    randy khan says:


    Well, the problem is that those 5 year olds aren’t working and earning their keep.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:


    Republicans are sociopaths.

    They see themselves as men and women of principle. They fundamentally believe that it is not the role of government to be involved in children’s health insurance. Doesn’t matter that the CHIP program is efficient, cost effective, just works, and promotes the general welfare of the people of the United States. It’s big gummit, so it must be bad.

  13. 13
    Another Scott says:

    It’s yet another example of “do what I want or I’ll shoot the hostage”. They don’t know how to bargain in good faith, so they think that Democrats will give them whatever they want in exchange for a return to (an ultimately less generous and less effective) status quo.

    It’s why Donnie gave Congress a few months to “fix DACA”. It’s why he says we’re pulling out of the Paris Agreement. It’s why he’s threatening to pull out of NAFTA. It’s why Republicans fought Medicaid Expansion for 400,000 people in Virginia – billions of dollars that Virginians have paid that are left on the table.

    And so forth. They’re attempting to get something they want in return for not killing the hostage.

    It’s never about policies that benefit real people, it’s about extracting a political advantage for them.

    I don’t think there’s any solution short of voting them out of office (unless MullerTime is faster and more comprehensive than might be expected) is going to change it. If Democrats “compromise” on this, there is going to some other crisis in days/weeks to replace it – I hope (and expect) that our people on the Hill know that.



    We have to fight them every single day.


  14. 14
    d58826 says:

    Just a wild thought – I wonder how much the gov’t could save if all of the gov’t run programs – medicare/Medicaid/chip/etc were consolidated into one program with one set of rules. That alternate multiverse again I guess.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @d58826: The problem here is granularity; a rule that makes sense for one program may be very stupid for another.

  16. 16
    Percysowner says:

    I have to agree, CHIP helps the poors and we can’t have THAT. If we make them go to the Exchanges then we make them jump through hoops and make it hard because if you’re poor, your life has to be made 10 time harder by the worthy rich. Or at least that’s what the Repubs think.

  17. 17

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    “Fuck the poor” is always more important, even if it raises the deficit.

    For example, the Trump misadministration is going to give the go-ahead to work requirements for Medicaid, even though they almost certainly won’t save money. Fucking over the poors is always priority 1, and all the justifications given are just post hoc rationalizations.

  18. 18


    Just a wild thought – I wonder how much the gov’t could save if all of the gov’t run programs – medicare/Medicaid/chip/etc were consolidated into one program with one set of rules.

    Or we could just extend the same program to everyone in the country and call it a day.

Comments are closed.