The White House is asking Congress to cut $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which Congress recently renewed, as part of an effort to cut $15 billion from the federal government’s bottom line, mostly from unspent funds, senior administration officials said Monday.
The CHIP program, which helps low-income children get access to health care, cost about $15.6 billion in federal and state spending in fiscal year 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The proposed cuts include $5 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Fund, to help reimburse states for certain expenses, according to the Washington Post. Senior administration officials said that the authority to use those funds expired last fall, so it can’t be legally tapped.
Another $2 billion in CHIP funds is for a program that states can help handle higher-than-expected enrollment, according to the Post. The White House estimates that no state will end up needing those funds, because CHIP enrollment is going down, not up.
Importantly, White House officials said they plan to later introduce a package that would make midyear cuts to the $1.3 trillion bipartisan spending bill that Congress passed earlier this year. That could include proposed cuts to education programs, since Congress provided more money for the U.S. Department of Education than the Trump team asked for.
The Trump budget request for fiscal 2018 sought major cuts to several K-12 programs, including the elimination of $2.1 billion in Title II spending for educator professional development, $1.1 billion in funding for after-school programs, and $400 million in Title IV funding, a block-grant program for districts to use in a variety of areas. Congress rejected the cut to Title II, boosted after-school spending by $20 million, and dramatically hiked Title IV to $1.1 billion. Advocates are taking the potential threat seriously, Andrew reported last month. But they note that GOP lawmakers agreed to the budget blueprint that allowed for that spending.
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