So one of the Big Deals on Twitter this morning was this tweet by Republican(correction: Former Republican) MSNBC talking head Joe Scarborough:
.@SenOrrinHatch talking about children's health care: “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything.”
I used to track the monthly Medicaid/CHIP enrollment reports issued by CMS, watching as the numbersrosedramatically thanks to ACA Medicaid expansion.
I pretty much stopped doing that about a year ago, however, since the expansion numbers have mostly petered out. ACA Medicaid expansion actually has continued to climb a bit more since January, and is likely somewhere around 16 million people as of now, but it's also been partly cancelled out by a slight drop in standard Medicaid enrollment as the economy has continued to improve in general. In short, there's little reason to keep writing the same update every month.
Three days after allowing Children's Health Insurance Program funding to run out for 9 million kids across America, House Republicans are supposedly working on a bill to lock in 5 full years of funding for the program, along with a substantial initial funding infusion to help out Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria:
Republicans on a leading House health-care committee are proposing to send $1 billion in extra Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico as it deals with severe hurricane damage, as part of a five-year plan to fund the federal health insurance program for children.
State officials increasingly worry that this year’s turbulent health-care politics could threaten funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a popular initiative that usually wins broad bipartisan support.
Federal funding for CHIP is set to end Sept. 30. The federal-state program provides health coverage to more than eight million low-income, uninsured children whose family incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid.
The number which keeps getting thrown around is "over 8 million" (which is true), while the official CHIP website lists it as 8.1 million (which was true for 2014).
However, out of curiousity, I took a look to see what the 2015 data is, and sure enough, it was up to 8.4 million last year.
Here's a table showing, state by state, how many children were enrolled in the CHIP program last year (as well as the number in Medicaid, which, surprisingly, is actually more than 4x higher). In fact, well over half of all Medicaid enrollees are children.
NOTE: "Ever Enrolled" is confusing; it makes it sound like this is cumulative since the 1990's. It actually means "ever enrolled during that year", since there's a lot of churn with children moving into or out of the program as their family situation changes over time:
CMS approves Arizona’s plan to re-open CHIP program
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has approved Arizona’s plan to allow new enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) after enrollment was frozen for several years. Now all states provide CHIP coverage to eligible children.
“Today’s approval is a step forward for the health of Arizona children in low-income families,” said Vikki Wachino, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. “With Arizona’s decision, all states in the nation now provide CHIP coverage to any eligible child who applies. More children in Arizona will have access to coverage early in their lives, which helps kids grow into healthy adults and provides parents with the peace of mind that comes from their children having affordable coverage.”
Having coverage through CHIP improves children’s health and increases their ability to succeed in school. Recent research on Medicaid and CHIP shows that these gains are long lasting, with children who gained coverage experiencing better health, higher educational attainment, and higher earnings as adults.