Nine million children may lose insurance if Congress doesn’t act soon

Local News

Nine million children could lose their health insurance if Congress doesn’t extend funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  

Senator Bob Casey is urging Republicans to act before Pennsylvania runs out of money for the program. 

It has been more than 70 days since Congress let funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program expire. The program provides health insurance for children whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance.  Families like Connie Cavara’s. The Pennsylvania mother says she has health insurance through her employer but can’t afford the $900 a month it would cost to add her kids to the plan.  “As a nurse, I spend every day taking care of other people’s family members. Without CHIP, I would not be able to take care of my own.”

Cavara stood alongside Democratic lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday, urging Congress to pass a bill to fund CHIP.  Casey saying, “This needs to get done right now. We need to come together and get it done”.

Earlier this fall, the Senate Finance committee passed a bipartisan bill to extend funding for 5 years, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not put the bill on the Senate Floor.  Casey says that’s unacceptable, especially as Republicans rush to pass their tax reform bill. “If Republicans can work so hard on permanent tax cuts for corporations I think they can at least get five years for kids”.

CHIP has historically had support from both parties and many Republicans also say they want to fund CHIP. But so far, they have not acted.  Casey saying, “The silence from Republicans is deafening”.

Pennsylvania could run out of money for CHIP as early as February. 

–Jessica Smith 

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