Children Are Losing Out On Healthcare Because Congress Won't Fund CHIP


January will see some states freezing enrollment into the program, while others will have to end it altogether.

Congress allowed funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire in September and has yet to pass a new funding measure. The program assists almost 9 million children across the country with health insurance needs.

The lapse in funding has forced states to scramble. For example, Alabama announced it would freeze enrollment in its CHIP program starting Jan. 1. In late November, Colorado started sending notices to families saying the program would end Jan. 31 without new money from Congress.

Connecticut has said it will run out of leftover federal monies by the end of January. According to a notice on its website, the state will look to alternative methods for assisting its children until Congress comes through.

The notice details the ways Connecticut will help children get health insurance, such as through the state's ObamaCare exchange or examining if they qualify for Medicaid, while encouraging parents to schedule preventive care visits and other medical appointments and refill medications before Jan. 31.

Democrats and Republicans have been unable to find agreement on any measure to fund the program.

House Republicans released a short-term spending measure last week that would fund CHIP for five years, but with offsets Democrats have criticized.

It’s hard to see that measure flying in the Senate because Democrats would have to vote for it in order for the stopgap spending bill to pass.