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Health

Kansas Kids Rely On CHIP Reauthorization

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A Washington, D.C., group that advocates for families and children is urging Kansans to speak up for renewal of the Children's Health Insurance Program. Bryan Thompson has more.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, was created in 1997 to cover kids whose families are not poor enough for Medicaid, but can’t afford private insurance. The program needs to be reauthorized by Congress to continue after the next fiscal year.

The advocacy group First Focus has released a report showing that publicly-funded insurance is actually more important to rural kids than to their urban counterparts.

“And that’s absolutely true in Kansas,” said EdWalz, a spokesman for First Focus. “Rural kids are 23% more likely to get their health care through CHIP or Medicaid than kids in Kansas urban communities.”

Walz says Kansas can play a major role in getting the program renewed. Senator Pat Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, which plans to hold a hearing on the reauthorization next Tuesday.

In the House, Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo both serve on the Congressional Rural Caucus. Walz says the Congressional Budget Office has found that the CHIP program actually saves money for the federal budget, compared to the costs that would be incurred if the program were to expire.