Congress to Address CHIP Funding Wednesday

390,000 low-income Texas children, pregnant women rely on CHIP

Two different Congressional committees are prepared to address funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, after lawmakers allowed funding for the vital program to lapse over the weekend.

CHIP provides health insurance to approximately 9 million low-income children and pregnant women across the country. That number includes more than 390,000 in Texas.

Funding for the program expired on Sept. 30, and there will be no new money allocated for CHIP until and unless Congress can reinstate a method of funding.

In Texas, CHIP money is expected to be used up by February.

The program, instated in 1997, has been widely praised for extending access to health care for millions of needy children.

Prior to the institution of CHIP, nearly 14 percent of children in the United States were uninsured, according to figures provided by the federal government. As of 2015, that percentage had dropped to 4.5 percent.

Two committees — one in the Senate, the other in the House — are set Wednesday to begin marking up bills that would continue funding for CHIP, according to CNBC.

The House bill would, among other things, help pay for the extension of CHIP funding by charging senior citizens who earn more than $500,000 annually higher premiums than lower-earning people for Medicare, CNBC reported.

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