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Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Congress, states scramble after fed funding for CHIP expires

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left, talks with Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, at the start of a committee hearing on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Wednesday, the panel, which also includes Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, will take up a proposal to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for which funding has now expired. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left, talks with Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, at the start of a committee hearing on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Wednesday, the panel, which also includes Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, will take up a proposal to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for which funding has now expired. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

Congress failed to reauthorize a program last week that gives children from lower-income families a lifeline to medical care: The Children’s Health Insurance Program, better known as CHIP, expired Saturday. Now there’s a scramble, both in Congress and in the states, over how to maintain the coverage.

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell are on the committee that will decide; read a full report here.

The top Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee last month announced they’d reached an agreement to renew CHIP. The proposal by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would continue funding at 2017 levels for another two years, with reductions in future years.

“We currently expect funding to last at least through January, and we are hopeful that Congress will pass the Hatch-Wyden bill making its way through the Senate that would extend CHIP funding,” Niki Forbing-Orr, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokeswoman, told the Idaho Statesman. “If funding is not extended, we do have contingency plans for maintaining children’s coverage.” The contingency plan is to move children from CHIP onto Medicaid, she said.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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