DHS Director: Iowa Developing Plans in Case CHIP Funding Runs Out

Graphic CALmatters

Graphic CALmatters

Our funds are now being shared with states like Arizona and Utah, where funding has already run out and where families are receiving mailed notices letting them know their children may lose health coverage.

A separate study by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families estimated that without the money from Thursday's short-term extension, 25 states would run out of money by the end of January, with 1.9 million children potentially losing coverage.

For a woman learning of an unintended pregnancy and facing the daunting reality of thousands of dollars in medical bills for prenatal care and delivery, unpaid family leave when the child is born, and uncertainty about health insurance coverage for their newborn, learning that CHIP is available to take care of two of those concerns is a small blessing. For children already enrolled in the program, a lack of funding could end the program completely by February 1st. Whats more, huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the just passed Congressional tax bill mean that Medicaid will likely face drastic cuts, pitting our most vulnerable – children, seniors and Idahoans with disabilities — against each other in state funding decisions.

Children's advocates and state officials have been urging Congress to pass a five-year reauthorization of the program.

Some states like Alabama and Virginia are sending notices to families warning them their children's insurance may not be renewed.

Although Congress has stepped in and provided eleventh-hour money twice in recent months, the will-they-or-won't-they drama has put pressure on state officials about how to respond. Alabama reduced the number of children without health coverage to 3 percent - in part by getting 95,000 kids into the CHIP program.

Rep. England said the state of Alabama doesn't have the money to pay for the program alone. Please call Idahos members of Congress and tell to put Idahos children first this Christmas by funding CHIP. Since then, some states have relied on unspent funds to keep it going. In Idaho, CHIP funding may last until the end of January, but theres no guarantee for the rest of the year. The 17,000 youths in CT would have to find another - more expensive - way to find health insurance if the program vaporizes. Federal money pays for nearly 90 percent of that. CHIP covers dental and eye care, prescription drugs, mental health care and pre-existing conditions.

The temporary funds would be approved by a continuing resolution bill and the Senate needs to vote on that too.

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