Federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - an initiative that provides basic health care for almost 20,000 Utah children - lapsed September 30.
CHIP provides low-priced health care to almost nine million middle class kids whose parents would otherwise not be able to afford to bring their children to the doctor. It is increasingly used by families whose employer-provided insurance is too expensive. Studies show that enrollment in CHIP improves children's health outcomes, reduces rates of child and early adulthood mortality, improves school performance and increases levels of college attainment and future wages.
FRANKFORT - Officials in Kentucky's Department for Medicaid Services have weathered a loss of federal funds for a program meant to provide health insurance for children in low-income families, and they told lawmakers on Wednesday that they expect Congress to refinance the program. That could be a dire situation for some families.
A bill to continue and extend funding for C.H.I.P. has been approved by the House, but the Senate has been unable to pass it.
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In the stopgap spending bill passed last week to keep the government operating, lawmakers funded CHIP through the end of the year, along with other programs. States have already made plans for what to do in the event that federal funds are exhausted.
Congress's lack of leadership on this issue puts the well-being of hundreds of thousands of children across Pennsylvania, and millions across the United States, at risk.
"I'm absolutely opposed to kicking these vulnerable families off of access to health care", says Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
"Now CHIP has become a bargaining chip", he said. He also expressed hope that they could do so "by Thanksgiving or earlier if we work together".
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But CHIP's budget is relatively modest - Washington's share past year was roughly $16 billion.
There are 60 votes needed in the senate to get it passed.
OR has publicly taken a much different tack than other states such as Virginia, where the news of cancellation letters sent to families could add pressure to Republican senators across the Potomac in Washington, D.C. Three thousand miles away, Gov. Kate Brown has said she does not want to put families through that stress, taking on faith that Congress will belatedly provide the money. To be fully effective going forward, Congress needs to once again provide the program stability and certainty.
The U.S. House passed CHIP legislation on November 3, with a 242 to 174 vote.
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The crisis on CHIP is a deeper one than just the immediate lapse of funds. Lockridge's daughter Zamarii Crosby has been at La Rabida Children's Hospital struggling with pulmonary hypertension, Lockridge said. Then in December, Republican Utah Sen.