Tags: Health Topics | Healthcare Reform | chip | health insurance | kids | relapse

Lapse in Funding Imperils Children's Healthcare Program

Image: Lapse in Funding Imperils Children's Healthcare Program
Dana Wolf Naimark of the Children's Action Alliance speaks at a rally, in Phoenix, Ariz. on April 11, 2016. Wolf urged the Arizona Senate and Gov. Doug Ducey to back a plan restoring a health insurance program called KidsCare for low income children. (Bob Christie/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:23 PM

States and lawmakers are wrestling with how to handle a lapse in CHIP, the program which provides low-cost health insurance to 9 million American children from low and moderate-income families, after Congress allowed it to expire on Sunday, the New York Times reports.

The Children's Health Insurance Program, created in 1997 and primarily funded by the federal government, provides routine checkups, immunizations, doctor visits, prescriptions, dental and vision care, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, lab and X-ray services and emergency services with families whose incomes fall under 200 percent of the poverty line paying no more than 5 percent of their annual income for children 18 and under.

Utah, where CHIP is provided to 19,000 children, has requested to "eliminate eligibility and services under CHIP" if further funding is not provided.

"We know that there is a desire in Congress to provide the funds, but we have heard that same sentiment all through the spring and the summer," said Nathan Checketts, deputy director of the Utah Health Department. "Congress needs to get this done as soon as possible, so states do not have to begin notifying people that their coverage may end."

Arizona and North Carolina will likely run out of funding by the end of 2017 while Minnesota has already spent all its CHIP money. Additionally, CHIP funds will be spent in 27 additional states by March 2018, according to the Times.

Most states are doing little in response to Congress missing the deadline, except reaching into their unspent federal funds. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday gave Minnesota $3.6 million from unspent national funds to cover CHIP through the end of October, according to state officials.

"It puts a gap in the state's budget," said Minnesota Department of Health Services Commissioner Emily Piper. "But it allows us to continue coverage while Congress presumably moves forward to reauthorize this critically important program."

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States and lawmakers are wrestling with how to handle a lapse in CHIP, the program which provides low-cost health insurance to 9 million American children from low and moderate-income families, after Congress allowed it to expire on Sunday, the New York Times reports.
chip, health insurance, kids, relapse
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2017-23-03
Tuesday, 03 October 2017 08:23 PM
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