Why hasn't the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) been fully funded? Why is CHIP funding being attached to a short-term continuing resolution? Why is the Freedom Caucus refusing to vote for a continuing resolution that extends CHIP funding for 6 years?
There's one answer to all of these questions: holding it hostage was always the plan.
Vox reporter Dylan Scott spoke to congressional Republican sources and lobbyists who say Republicans have kept CHIP funding tucked into their back pocket for moments like this. They always wanted to use it to extract funding cuts for other programs.
Interviews with several sources who know the program and the political dynamics around it say what many Republicans will not out loud: Some in their party, particularly archconservatives in the House, have deeply ambivalent feelings about CHIP, and if they are going to extend it, they want spending cuts to Obamacare or Medicare in return, as the CHIP extension that the House muscled through in November did.
“The House has a lot of folks who consider CHIP to be an entitlement,” one Republican health care lobbyist told me. “They’re not doing anything unless we have entitlement reform.”
The continuing resolution Speaker Paul Ryan wants to pass actually includes several delays for Obamacare funding mechanisms, such as the medical device tax, but that's still not enough for the Batshit Caucus.
The Freedom Fuckers say they don't want to fund CHIP for a long period of time because they should leave themselves the option of reviewing and changing it from time to time, but even when those times come up, like right now, they won't actually engage or negotiate in good faith.
The only thing that would actually please them is to end the program. Everything else is bullshit.