Utah warns children's health program will end without funds

House panel to consider children's health measure

Greg Nash

Officials say Wyoming children who are enrolled in a federal health insurance program will continue to be covered for the next few months, even if Congress lets federal funding expire.

And with the turmoil in Congress lately, state officials are taking no chances. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) co-sponsored the bill, which was last reauthorized in 2015 and provides health insurance for children in families that don't qualify for Medicaid due to their incomes but still need government support to cover medical costs.

"For Arizona, we're in a very unique situation", she said. But the debate over how to fund it, coupled with the recent dysfunction of Congress, leaves the question of whether it can be restore - and how quickly - up in the air.

Congress was on track to miss the deadline earlier this week, and though the Senate released a bipartisan, five-year bill to reauthorize the program, a vote wasn't scheduled. "But still, accidents happen", she said.

There is another option: The state could pick up the tab. It was last reauthorized in 2015 and was due to be renewed by Saturday. Without swift action, millions of children could lose basic access to health care as several states' CHIP funds will be drained by the year's end. That is $28,180 for a family of three. At 200 percent of the poverty level, these families are above the financial guidelines to receive Medicaid. She said the restoration of KidsCare has played a big part in that. "It's important for me to know that if I need to take him to see a doctor, that I will be able to do that". They imposed a freeze on enrollment, though those already in the program could remain as long as their families remained eligible.

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State lawmakers are concerned letting program funding lapse puts coverage for almost 18,000 children in DE in jeopardy.

Rep. Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, attached language to restart enrollment to Kids Care into legislation making changes in the program to allow more parents to use public dollars to send their children to private and parochial schools, something the Republican leaders wanted.

Bentz said he has confidence in DE leaders in Congress, but not in Republican House speaker or the Senate majority leader.

Cobb, in pushing to restore Kids Care, conceded at the time that federal funding beyond September 30 of this year was not assured.

CHIP is essential for our communities, families and children in our state.

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