Insurance for 9M kids at risk after CHIP expires

Local News

The Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP has provided low and middle class children health insurance for two decades. 

The program has been around for two decades and provides low and middle-class families with healthcare coverage, including 350,000 children in New York State. 

“It puts our system in crisis,” said Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, a pediatrician and President of SUNY Upstate Medical University. “We don’t want families put in that situation where they are hesitating because they are worried they are going to have to pay for that care and they can’t afford it.” 

While states contribute to the program, it is largely funded by federal dollars. For every dollar states contribute the federal government matches it anywhere from 65 to 75 percent. 

Federal funds are set to run out on Saturday and by the end of March 2018, more than half the states will run out of money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to an analysis the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“We know as a country if we invest in our children we will have a healthier society,” said Laraque-Arena. “It’s not rocket science.” Approximately 45 percent of the children in the Upstate University Hospital healthcare system have health insurance through CHIP. 

It’s also estimated that about 50 percent of kids in Onondaga County live in poverty according to the Census Bureau, so if/when CHIP funds expire, it’ll singificantly impact Central New Yorkers. 

The bill to extend the funding for five years is currently in the Senate Finance Committee and many are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, to push the bill to the Senate floor for a vote so it can quickly head to the House. 

The delay over CHIP is blamed on the major controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act. 

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal supported $1.7-trillion in cuts from CHIP and other supportive programs like Social Security Income (SSI) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

In response to the expiration of CHIP, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, released the following statement: 

“Now that the Senate Finance committee has reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Leader McConnell should immediately put this bill to the Senate floor for a vote and include much-needed bipartisan provisions to stabilize the markets, lower premiums in 2018, and renew funding for community health centers and numerous other important health provisions that expired over the weekend. No family in New York or elsewhere should ever have to make the agonizing decision between taking their child to the doctor and footing the cost of exorbitant medical bills they cannot afford.”

Congressman John Katko also released a statement urging the reauthorization of CHIP that can be read in full by clicking here

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