Colorado's top Dems call on Congress to renew child health insurance program

Thousands of families will receive insurance cancellation notices right before Christmas if Congress doesn't resolve its CHIP problem within the next two weeks.

DENVER - Thousands of families will receive insurance cancellation notices right before Christmas if Congress doesn't resolve its CHIP problem within the next two weeks.

CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, insures roughly 9 million children nationwide, as well as pregnant women whose families make just above the Medicaid income line, but struggle to finance private insurance.

Funding for the program ended in September after Congress failed to renew it, but Colorado is able to finance its roughly 75,000 kids who rely on CHIP through the end of January.

On Tuesday, Gov. Hickenlooper called on Congress to reauthorize the funding.

“Congress has got to recognize that anxiety and fear has real costs in people’s lives,” Hickenlooper said. “How many more details are there to hammer out? It’s not like this came out of nowhere.”

On Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne did the same, meeting with several families in danger of losing their coverage.

“It's hard to hear first-hand… the struggles that they have,” Lynne said. “It’s costing some of [them] hundreds of dollar a month.”

Lynne said the purpose of the meeting was to further understand the struggles families reliant on CHIP go through. The bill was created in 1997 by both Democrats and Republicans with strong support, according to Georgetown University.

Lynne said that despite the delay she is confident a resolution will be met before Christmas.

“I think it would be irresponsible if [legislators] took a Christmas break and didn't resolve this problem,” she said. “[Otherwise] we will have to notify the families right around Christmas about the cancellation of their health coverage, and that's not news anyone should get Christmas week.”

For more on CHIP visit this link.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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