The State of Connecticut has become the latest to signal that it will end its children’s health insurance program unless Congress acts to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which it let lapse in late September.
At current funding levels — or lack thereof — the program will expire in Connecticut by January 31, leaving underprivileged children without access to the insurance program that helps them get preventive care visits, medication, and other types of care.
Connecticut is just the latest state to announce that their resources are drying up, following after several others including Alabama, and Colorado. Alabama will freeze its program on January 1, while Colorado is set to do so January 31.
Funding the CHIP program has traditionally been a bipartisan affair, as it helps nearly 9 million children across the country to access healthcare they otherwise would not have. Even with that historic support, Republicans let the program slide as it has attempted to push through massive changes to American health and tax policy.
The CHIP program covers a segment of children in society whose families are affluent enough to not qualify for Medicaid, but aren’t able to afford other options. Children who fall under that income level are generally covered by the Medicaid program.
The lapse in funding for the CHIP program has garnered high profile criticism, including from comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who has waded into the debate on healthcare during his nightly show, and slammed congressional Republicans for turning children’s health into a political “bargaining chip” so that Republicans can pass a massive tax overhaul.
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But others have questioned whether that is truly the rationale for holding CHIP funding, including the Washington Post’s fact checking apparatus, which argues that Congress isn’t withholding the vital funds for children’s health care. Instead, Congress simply isn’t doing anything with it, that newspaper says.