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Kasich Leads Governors Urging Congress To Fund CHIP

Carolyn Kaster
Associated Press
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Colorado Gov. John Kickenlooper teamed up to introduce bipartisan proposals for reforming health care.

Gov. John Kasich led an effort by governors of both parties urging Congress to reauthorize funding for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

The recommendation involving CHIP came in a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday.

“For twenty years, this program has successfully provided vital health coverage and care to about nine million children,” the letter reads. “Without it, access to essential health services like well child exams, asthma medicine, and hospitalizations will be at risk.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, with whom Kasich teamed to push bipartisan health care reform, also spearheaded the letter-writing campaign. They were joined by the governors of Alaska, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia.

CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide, as well as helps pregnant women and lower- and middle-income families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

But fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out October 1; since then, some states have relied on unspent funds. Others got a short-term reprieve in the two-week spending bill President Donald Trump signed Friday.

But Ohio and a number of other states will run out of money by January if the federal government doesn’t act.

Sen. Sherrod Brown has spoken up about the need to approve CHIP funding, and expressed frustration with Congressional roadblocks.

"It should be done. I don't care how we do it,” Brown says. “There's five different ways, but the easiest is just to move the bill to the floor. 

The governors said the program has enjoyed “strong bipartisan support” since its creation, and funding it "without disruption" is something they can all agree on.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.