Obama budget would extend CHIP funding

The White House’s proposed budget for 2016 would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2019, a summary document indicated Monday.

CHIP funding is due to expire on Sept. 30, and without action from lawmakers, more than 8 million children could lose their health insurance coverage.

The White House proposal aligns with Democratic legislation offering funds for CHIP through 2019. While the program is currently authorized through that year, its funding it is not.

Governors and state health officials have also called on Congress to extend CHIP funding through 2019 and to hold votes as soon as possible for budget-planning purposes.

Children’s advocates are gathering support for a funding extension amid some questions about how much money CHIP should receive given new family coverage options available under ObamaCare.

Obama’s budget would provide funds for CHIP by raising certain tobacco taxes, a move that received praise from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

“There has been past bipartisan congressional support for increasing the federal tobacco tax to pay for this important program that guarantees access to quality care for uninsured children across the country,” said ACS CAN President Christopher Hansen in a statement.

“The tax has the added benefit of discouraging kids from smoking, reducing long-term health care costs and saving lives,” Hansen said, estimating that the tax could prevent 444,000 premature deaths.

In total, the budget blueprint would spend nearly $4 trillion, exceeding the spending limits introduced under the 2011 budget deal. Officials estimate the budget would cut deficits by $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years.

Read more about the proposal — which includes tax increases on the wealthy and increased spending on infrastructure — here.

—This post was updated at 4:16 p.m. with Hansen’s statement

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