Time is running out for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which desperately needs funding to keep the program in place.
After Congress approved a package in December that helped states keep the program running through March, the administration estimates that it only has enough funds to keep the CHIP running in all states up until Jan. 19, according to Vox.
“We appreciate that Congress included funding for CHIP in the continuing resolution that runs through January 19, 2018,” Johnathan Monroe, a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement. “However … we are unable to say with certainty whether there is enough funding for every state to continue its CHIP program through March 31, 2018.”
This has forced states to send letters to families informing them that their insurance might expire at anytime unless congressional action is taken to fund CHIP. It’s not yet confirmed which states will likely be affected first, according to NPR, but states are already freezing enrollment.
CHIP is a health insurance program that covers 9 million children from “lower-income households that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid,” according to NPR.
While Republicans and Democrats agree to extend the program, they are in dispute about how to fund the program, which began in 1997.
Now states are tasked with dealing with the funding shortfall.
“Of course, the implications for families with CHIP-eligible children cannot be understated: Parents are worried that their children will lose coverage,” Lisa Dubay, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, said. “And they should be.”