One of the little-reported provisions in this week’s budget agreement was not short term at all. It was a 6-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), without any major reform whatsoever. Here’s why that’s important.
CHIP, which covers roughly 9 million children, is not family friendly. One parent could be in an employer plan; the other could be in Medicaid; while the children are in CHIP. It is completely government-run. State governments choose the benefits and dictate the prices paid to providers. It is also completely inflexible. For example, parents can’t use CHIP money to buy private insurance or enroll their children in an employer plan. You can think of it as single-payer health insurance for kids.