Though it was a key promise of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has not yet repealed, or replaced, Obamacare.
This doesn’t mean the Trump administration and current Republican congress haven’t been able to change health care in the US, though. The former has cut funds for Obamacare enrollment outreach and passed regulations that chip away at reproductive-health coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act, while the latter just voted to approve a new tax bill that would end the ACA’s individual mandate, and likely result in rapid insurance premium hikes.
The government doesn’t seem too concerned about children’s health either, based on its failure to renew federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Since it passed in 1997, CHIP has been instrumental in ensuring the health care coverage of children in US families that aren’t poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford any other form of insurance. Depending on the state, that includes families with incomes ranging from 300% to 200% of the federal poverty line. There are 8.9 million children currently enrolled.
The program is financed jointly by the federal and state governments, with federal funds matching state contributions. But when the deadline for funding CHIP through 2018 came on Sept. 30 of this year, the federal government could not agree on a way to keep paying for the program.
Unless Congress passes new legislation to refinance CHIP, the only federal funding available to states for next year will be whatever is left over from each state’s’ yearly federal funds, and limited contributions coming from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That won’t be nearly enough to keep CHIP running through 2018 in any state. And most will have to end the program before spring. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 75% of states will run out of funds for CHIP by the end of March.
So far, 14 states have said they will have to phase out CHIP coverage for children sometime in January 2018. Colorado, Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, and Utah will be the first: In these states alone, over 600,000 children will lose their health care.