If Congress winds up repealing the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), families in Washington and other states could face significantly higher costs and lose coverage that’s better for low- to moderate-income kids than anything that’s been proposed so far as part of federal health care reform.
A new actuarial study, conducted by the consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide, has found that health care costs would rise for children enrolled in Washington's Apple Health for Kids if they had to move to “health insurance exchanges.”
“For children in Washington, it’s clear that preserving the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as Apple Health for Kids, is the best, most affordable way to provide health care to those who need it most,” says Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, the bipartisan advocacy group that commissioned the study.
“Apple Health for Kids provides comprehensive benefits to children that specifically address their unique health care needs. And it is far more affordable than any plan proposed in Congress. For health reform, Congress should be fixing what is broken and building on what works. As Congress enters the final stages of its health reform effort, Washington’s lawmakers should fight to preserve the Children’s Health Insurance Program, because Apple Health for Kids works for kids. In fact, we should be expanding this program, not phasing it out.”
The health care reform legislation the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed would repeal CHIP entirely, pushing millions of children and pregnant women from CHIP into either Medicaid or health insurance exchanges. The Senate’s version would extend the CHIP program until 2015. The House and Senate are working to iron out the differences between their respective bills, leaving CHIP’s fate unclear.
Read the full report from First Focus.
• A white paper from First Focus titled "Children in Health Reform: Comparing CHIP to the Exchange Plans."
• The Children’s Defense Fund’s summary of how children are faring in health care reform.
• Reports and research by First Focus on health reform issues facing children.
-- Liz Gillespie