9 million children may lose healthcare due to CHIP funding

The CHIP program, which is subsidized/free health insurance for children, expired as of September 30, 2017. The reason being is that Congress has not funded it for future years, and as a result of this expiration as many as 9 million children as well as teenagers will slowly, but steadily, start to lose their access to affordable health insurance.

Granted this is a government benefit. For those who are not aware of CHIP, it only focuses on some of the most vulnerable among us, being kids. In addition, CHIP does not necessarily assist households living in poverty. Rather it helps families that may be considered to be more “moderate income”, in that the household’s income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low for them to afford the cost of expensive medical care on their own.

The status of the Children’s Health Insurance Program is up in the air. Congress has let funding lapse, and since the federal government is now longer actively paying for it, as of September 30, 2017 states are starting to run out of money. Now this will be a gradual process and it may take a few for several months for every state to use their CHIP funding…but it is happening.

One thing to keep in mind is that since CHIP was targeted at families that can’t receive Medicaid, the truth is most of the parents are working. They are employed, doing their best to provide for their family. But since health insurance is so expensive they just can’t afford to pay the bills without a little financial help from the government.

Compare this benefit, the fact it is for moderate income families, to some of the other public aid programs out there. Many people make the argument that those other benefit programs are sometimes thought of as entitlements. Some people say those benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, SSI, etc. in fact discourage the parent(s) from working, as if their income is too high they lose the government aid. This is not what CHIP does or encourages.

As to what the resource is, Children’s Health Insurance Program encourages the parents to work, and stay employed. As if they work for a paycheck they can still be sure if they work hard to provide for their family, and bring in some income, they will get a little help from the government to pay for their medical needs.

Any child, or even teenager who is 19 years of age or younger, from a home with an income of under the $40,000 or so level (depending on family size), may qualify for assistance from CHIP. The benefit encourages work by having a slightly higher income threshold.

Congress has yet to give it more funding for the end of 2017 and into 2018. Without additional funds flowing to CHIP, the 9 million or so kids that currently get coverage will slowly start to lose it. Some states will be impacted before others, but it is currently projected that by early 2018 every child will lose access to medical care. Unless Congress decides to continue CHIP from October 1, 2017 going forward.

If you are concerned with these cutbacks, you should call/write their Congress person and demand funding for CHIP. If the government is concerned about budget shortfalls and balancing the budget (which is a fair argument), then one solution is to take the money from other entitlement programs.

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