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Advocates Again Press Congress for Four More Years of CHIP Funding

By Rebecca Adams, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

October 15, 2014 -- Children's health advocates are making a final push to convince Congress to act during the lame duck session and extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

A coalition of more than 1,000 state and national advocacy groups is drafting a letter to send to lawmakers next week.

Funding for the program expires when the next fiscal year begins, on Oct. 1, 2015. About 10.2 million children are covered by CHIP.

Lobbyists say they are continuing to meet with lawmakers in their districts and elsewhere to push for another four years of continued funding, but the advocates are aware that Congress may view the issue as one that can be addressed next year.

The letter will note that state officials are already planning their budgets beyond the expiration date for funding. Uncertainty over the program's future will make it difficult to know what states' share of costs will be and whether they should be planning to revise their CHIP programs.

CHIP was created and funded over the years with bipartisan support. The program is credited for dramatically expanding health care benefits for children.

The organizations involved include the American Public Health Association, Children's Hospital Association, First Focus, National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAACP, and the National PTA.

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