Federal insurance program delay could impact Kansas children

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Robin Abbott holds her 15-month-old son, Jackson Abbott, at their home in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007. A plan is going directly to voters in Oregon next month, the only state in the country to vote on a tobacco tax increase this year, to pay for an expansion of children’s health care. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

TOPEKA — Kansas officials are considering options if Congress doesn’t reauthorize a program that helps provide health insurance for nearly 80,000 children in the state.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides insurance for children in low- and moderate-income, working families. Congress didn’t reauthorize funding before the end of the September deadline.

Gerald Kratochvil, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told The Topeka Capital-Journal that if the program isn’t reauthorized, funds in Kansas won’t run out until March 2018. He says about 37,000 Kansas children are enrolled in CHIP, with another 42,000 in a hybrid CHIP-Medicaid program.

Republicans pushed a bill extending financing the program through a House committee Wednesday, but partisan conflict over how to pay for it could delay the approval.

 

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