State Rep. Cora Faith Walker, D-Ferguson, has filed legislation that would require the Missouri Legislature to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, if the federal government fails to budget money towards the program. Congress has not reapproved CHIP funding, which provides health coverage for nearly 90,000 Missouri kids. The Show-Me State could reportedly lose such funding during the first quarter of next year if action is not taken at the federal level.

Rep. Cora Faith Walker (D-Ferguson)

As a result of the program, Walker says the uninsured rate for children has reduced by half and the number of unnecessary hospitalizations has decreased substantially. Additionally, she says children who utilize CHIP are more likely to have a usual source of care, make regular visits to health care providers and access preventative care.

“While Congress continues to delay reauthorizing CHIP funding, health coverage for nearly 90,000 kids in Missouri is at risk as states have waited more than 60 days for Congress to act,” says Walker. “Through the advancement of House Bill 1334, we as a body have an opportunity to protect health care for kids from working families and assist them in maintaining a decent quality of life. The time of waiting is over.”

The program has strong bi-partisan support but is one of many measures stalled in Congress this year because of Republicans focusing on tax cuts and repealing the Affordable Care Act.