A U.S. Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. Federal funds were only approved through the end of September, putting 37,000 Kansas kids at risk of losing coverage if the program isn’t renewed.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says funding already allocated for CHIP will run out in early 2018. The program offers low-cost insurance for kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance. CHIP also covers pregnant women.
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is on the Finance Committee, which put out a bill with bipartisan support to extend CHIP funding for another 5 years.
“We have very scarce tax payer dollars, but they should be used to fund coverage for those children most in need, those without the option of private health insurance coverage," he said during bill markup Wednesday.
Kansas' current budget allots approximately $74.4 million for CHIP; about $6 million of that comes from state funds, the rest from federal.
KDHE said in an emailed statement that if the state does run out of funding for CHIP, they are "evaluating all options for continued access to health care for our members."
Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously stated the amount of CHIP funding in the state's budget as $114 million. This amount includes M-CHIP funding, which is funded through Medicaid and is not at risk. Approximately $74.4 million is spent on CHIP only.
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