Childrens' Health Insurance Program could expire soon

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KNWA) - A program that provides health coverage to millions of American children is in jeopardy.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program -- or CHIP -- is for low-to-mid income families. It’s set to expire at the end of the month, unless Congress extends it.

In a hearing today, a Senate committee discussed the program’s future.

Leanna George, a mom from Johnston County, North Carolina went before Congress to explain what the Children’s Health Insurance Program -- or CHIP means to her son.

Caleb, 11, has autism, ADHD and a neurological condition.

“Without CHIP coverage, his access to services would be greatly diminished,” George said.

Caleb and nearly 9 million other American children are covered under CHIP.

It provides health insurance for families who make too much money for Medicaid but not enough for private insurance.

“It’s the only health bill with a time stamp on it. There’s no kicking this can down the road with a short term bill, and it can’t wait until December,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says Iowa’s CHIP program covers more than 83,000 kids.

CHIP has a history of bipartisan support, but lawmakers may disagree about how much funding the program should receive and how long it should be extended.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, worries about how cuts to Medicaid could impact CHIP coverage.

While the future of healthcare is uncertain, George said renewing CHIP would give her the peace of mind she needs.

 

If Congress does not renew the program, states could start running out of CHIP funding by the end of the year. The program is set to expire on September 30.


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