SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Congress has reauthorized funding for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, for another six years.
Thousands of kids almost lost their coverage until Congress decided to extend the program, what health providers are calling a victory.
Casey Hicks has been a nurse practitioner at Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield for about two years, and he works directly with children who are in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“All the time,” he said.
About 200 children who receive care at Jordan Valley are covered under the federal program.
“I’ve had CHIP for several years now,” said Teresa Krasser, a Springfield mom of two.
That’s how Teresa Krasser’s two children get their regular check-ups, medical appointments, dental care and immunizations.
“He’s had broken bones and stitches and all kinds of stuff,” she said. “And it’s always been covered. And it’s nice to know that even in an emergency, I won’t have to deal with thousands of dollars worth of bills.”
Krasser’s children are among about 80,000 in the state of Missouri who are covered under CHIP. And 9 million nationwide.
CHIP is for families who don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford health insurance premiums. In Krasser’s case, her husband’s insurance through his job doesn’t cover her and their children.
“It only provides for him,” she said.
So needless to say, losing CHIP would be devastating.
“It was something that I was definitely worried about,” Krasser said.
CHIP funding would dry out by March, but now, since Congress signed a spending bill that covers CHIP for another six years, Hicks says health professionals can worry about providing quality care and Krasser won’t have to worry about money when her little ones need to make a trip to the doctor’s office.
“It’s a big weight off these parents’ backs,” Hicks said.
CHIP is a bipartisan program.
Now, Congress has yet to allow funding for community health centers directly. That money allows the facilities to operate certain services and provide care for low-income families. It’s reported Congress will be making a decision on that in the next few weeks.
Jenifer Abreu from Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed this report