Health insurance for 9M kids on the line as Congress fails to meet deadline

WASHINGTON (BY:  IGOR BOBIC, THE HUFFINGTON POST) – The Republican-led Congress failed to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) over the weekend, spreading uncertainty and panic among some states that funding for the program would dry up and threaten the lives of the nine million U.S. children enrolled in the program.

Lawmakers missed a Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the Clinton-era initiative, which provides insurance coverage for kids in families with lower to middle-class incomes at the cost of some $14 billion per year. Because of the way its funding is dispersed, however, money will not run out for most states immediately.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week that an “overwhelming number of states have some money to continue to spend” on the program.

“So think that in other words, there’s a few days leeway — there might be a few weeks leeway,” he added. “But I can’t be specific because I don’t know but it’s too bad it’s not done right now.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) issued this statement regarding funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Reauthorization legislation for the program is scheduled to be marked up in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

“I understand the benefits the Children’s Health Insurance Program offers to many students in West Virginia. This is why for two decades, dating back to my time in the West Virginia State Legislature, I have championed this important program and support ongoing efforts to reauthorize it. The legislation to reauthorize CHIP that is advancing in the Senate has strong, bipartisan support.”

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on Congress’ failure to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“It is shameful that Congress is so dysfunctional that we cannot even manage to reauthorize funding for a program that ensures 9 million children across America have access to health insurance. More than 21,000 West Virginia children are enrolled in CHIP and to let this funding expire is nothing short of negligent. The least we can do is put partisanship aside to protect our children, the most vulnerable among us. In the coming days, I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure no child in West Virginia loses access to healthcare.”

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