Medicaid and CHIP

As joint federal-state programs, Medicaid provides medical care for certain poor and low-income people, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides coverage mostly for children in low-income families that do not qualify for Medicaid. Federal spending for Medicaid and CHIP was $251 billion and $9 billion, respectively, in 2012. On average during the year, Medicaid covered about 54 million people; and CHIP, an additional 5 million. By CBO’s projections, federal Medicaid spending will rise rapidly over the coming decade because of expanding eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (see CBO’s ongoing work on that legislation), the aging of the population, and rising costs per beneficiary. The agency’s work on Medicaid and CHIP includes projections of future federal spending for the programs, cost estimates of specific legislative proposals, and analyses with a broader perspective.


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