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Editorial: Congress should fund Children’s Health Insurance Program

Health

Tampa Bay Times

Keeping children healthy is a priority on which even the most strident political opponents can agree. When Congress reconvenes for its lame duck session this week, it should vote to fund a federal program that helps provide health insurance for low-income children. Funding for the program is set to expire at the end of September 2015, but lawmakers cannot wait until then to act. Some states are already starting to put together their spending plans for 2015-16 budgets, and they need to know if they can count on federal support.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, was created in 1997 during the Clinton administration and approved by a Republican-controlled Congress. Lawmakers aimed to start a federal-state partnership in which the government would give money to states to create health plans for uninsured children. Nationwide, CHIP provides coverage for about 8 million children at a cost of about $10 billion a year. In Florida, CHIP helps fund Florida KidCare, which covers medical expenses including doctor visits, prescriptions, dental care and mental health care…

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