WASHINGTON (WCMH) — As Republicans in Washington fight to pass a tax reform plan, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is running out of money.
The bill provides health insurance for children whose families who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance.
For the past 20 years, CHIP has had bipartisan support, but this year Congress missed a September 30th deadline to extend funding for CHIP.
Now states are running out of money to keep the program going.
Nine million children could soon lose their health insurance. On the Senate Floor, Senator Sherrod Brown said Congress is to blame.
“Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell would rather worry about tax cuts for the rich…that’s way more important, Mr. President, than taking care of 209,000 children in Ohio,” said Brown.
A Senate committee passed a bipartisan bill to extend CHIP funding earlier this fall, but Leader Mitch McConnell still hasn’t put it on the Senate floor for a vote.
Now several states, including Ohio, could run out of money for the program by the end of the year or early January.
“209,000 children are about to get a letter — or their families are — saying your insurance is going to be gone. Maybe in January,” said Brown.
Republicans say they want to reauthorize the program too.
“I strongly support the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps 219,000 Ohio kids and nine million children nationwide get high-quality health coverage, and I would urge the Senate to pass our bipartisan proposal as quickly as possible, said Portman.
Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, said there is a reason CHIP hasn’t moved forward.
“I think they want to find some other items, that are perhaps aren’t as popular as CHIP to put them in with CHIP to get those things through the floor as well. I think that’s what’s holding it up,” said Rounds.
Rounds said time on the Senate floor is limited, but Brown argued children should take priority over tax reform.
“A bunch of members of Congress that get insurance, paid for by taxpayers, to take it away from children is damn near criminal,” said Brown.