American Children Have A Higher Chance Of Dying Before Adulthood

Michael Conroy  AP

However, funding for CHIP expired more than three months ago, and Congress has yet to approve long-term funding.

A press conference was held Thursday at the Kanawha City Health Center in Charleston where health care advocates discussed the benefits of CHIP and the importance of continuing to serve the almost 21,000 West Virginia children who depend on the coverage. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week said it couldn't guarantee funding to all states past January 19.

The families enrolled in CHIP are working families, said Joshua Austin, program manager for strategic initiatives for the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center.

Before Congress passed the short-term funding fix in late December, CHIP programs survived on the states'unspent funds and a $3 billion pool of CHIP money controlled by CMS. "We can show our commitment to increasing access to treatment by reauthorizing the National Health Service Corps program, that expired in September".

The budget includes $26.7 million for a voluntary pilot program to send community health workers to visit struggling families.

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Meanwhile, the almost $3 billion for CHIP that Congress passed in December could run out in just a few weeks.

"Americans are exhausted of waiting on their government to do the right thing - lives are depending on it. Let's end this waiting game and #FundCHIPNow", U.S. Sen.

According to the CBO, by removing the individual insurance mandate put in place by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the cost of buying coverage in insurance marketplaces will increase. The bill was not taken up by the U.S. Senate. Elizabeth Warren, who said that fund is critical for children's health, too.

Officials at Nemours/A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children said the hospital saw about 6,000 children on CHIP in the past year for issues ranging from asthma to terminal illnesses, and many of them have special health care needs. "She knows the importance of CHIP and will work with her colleagues on a plan for ensuring funding for CHIP continues", Sen.

Rep. Steve Womack believes it's important to make sure CHIP is on "proper fiscal footing for an extended period of time".

Child health-care advocates have long complained that the KidCare program is not user-friendly because of the number of agencies involved, including the Department of Children and Families, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. "Meanwhile, Colorado and CT families received letters informing them that their children may soon lose CHIP coverage".

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