Budget deal includes six-year extension for CHIP - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Budget deal includes six-year extension for CHIP

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Monday's Congressional deal to end the government shutdown comes with a silver lining for millions of children. The deal also includes a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Plan known as CHIP.

And as advocates explain, they've been holding their breath for this news for months.

"It's been over 100 days people have been in this limbo," explained Children's Defense Fund Southern Regional Director Oleta Fitzgerald.

The federal funds for the Children's Health Insurance Program or CHIP expired at the end of September.

"It's just unconscionable to be talking about and putting those people and those children in that risk when we could've just made the decision to go ahead and do this some time ago," added Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald closely watched as it was announced that Monday's deal included a six-year funding extension for the program.

"As advocates, as we have a sigh of relief, we're certain that 9 million families and children are happy to see this resolved," she said.

As of the end of December, there were more than 47-thousand Mississippi children enrolled in CHIP. It's estimated that around 80-thousand are eligible. And the funding that provides them with health care would've expired at the end of April without reauthorization from Congress. But there are still concerns about access to care for those enrolled in CHIP.

"Lots of these services are provided through community health centers and those centers are still in limbo," said Fitzgerald.

The deal did not include a funding plan for those centers. Advocates will continue to push for that.

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