Children's Health Program Funding In Jeopardy

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Congress has again failed to approve long-term funds for a popular program that provides health insurance for almost 9 million low-income children, leaving each party blaming the other for Christmas-season gridlock and states scrambling to decide how to parcel out dwindling money.

Federal funding for the so-called CHIP program ran out in September, and while there have been promises to restore it, a final deal has not emerged from Congress. Alker's center on Wednesday released an analysis that shows which states are projected to soon have shortfalls. For children already enrolled in the program, a lack of funding could end the program completely by February 1st. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., referring to the $1.5 trillion tax bill Congress approved this week.

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I sincerely hope Congress reauthorizes CHIP now and for a longer term.

I can not imagine the hardships the concerned parents are going through thinking about their Children's health situation and not knowing, if the program would continue.

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But in a letter to recipients sent earlier this month, the state notified them that the money will dry up and the program will end January 31 without a move by Congress.

For two decades, CHIP has been an essential source of children's coverage, ensuring access to high-quality, affordable, pediatric-appropriate health care for children in working families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase private health insurance on their own. According to the nonprofit health research organization the Kaiser Family Foundation, CHIP has helped cut the share of uninsured US children from 14 percent to five percent over two decades. Many states are at risk of running out of CHIP money by the end of January. She said officials were "considering all our options" for possibly losing federal funds. Most states will run out of money by the end of March. It's unacceptable for Republicans to be making any demands about identifying sources for the roughly $14 billion a year spent on CHIP. Most Democrats voted no, saying they opposed plans to finance the extension in part by cutting a public health program created under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law.

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Democrats had been hammering Republicans for passing their sweeping tax-cut legislation while CHIP remained in limbo, arguing it would leave millions of families who depend upon the program uncertain over their future at the holidays.