Virginia state officials have issued warnings to families the CHIP or Children’s Health Insurance Program is almost out of money. Several states have lost funding because the program has not been renewed by Congress. Unless another source becomes available, many children will lose their health care.
CHIP was designed for low-income children without health insurance, and funded by federal and state insurance plans. The larger percentage of funds was supplied by the federal government. It was September when the funding ran out, and it has not been renewed by Congress. A resolution recently passed ensures the federal government remains in business through December 22nd, and a CHIP patch was included. This only helped the states who still had cash remaining. When the federal funding is gone, millions of kids will no longer have health care. For additional information, please visit NBC News.
The program in Virginia is called FAMIS, and the money will be gone by February. Families are being encouraged to take their children for medical visits as soon as possible by a letter from the state. Families are additionally being instructed to make all medical or dental appointments by no later than January 31st. Even if the child is healthy, and not in need of a physician, the letter is meant to be informative for the parents.
According to Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, the current dysfunction and gridlock in Congress is shameful. This has left almost 70,000 residents of Virginia dependent on the program in a state of limbo. Families must act immediately if they can acquire health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange. Their time runs out on December 15th. Some families will need to consider subsidized or free clinics.
According to the Department of Medical Assistance Services deputy director for Virginia, Linda Nablo, the parents of any child with a serious medical issue such as cancer, chemotherapy treatment, surgery or hospitalization, must be informed now. This is the only way for them to determine what is possible and what is not.
The delay in CHIP funding is partially due to how it will be financed. There is a major disagreement between the Democrats and Republicans as to the potential cuts to other programs. According to Mark Pocan, the Democratic Representative for Wisconsin, the program has become a casualty of confusion. He stated people believe Congress is not able to govern, and he believes they are right.