ALABAMA LAWMAKERS ADDRESSING CHILDREN’S INSURANCE SHORTFALL

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Some states are facing a loss in funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, despite funds being approved by Washington lawmakers in December. But where does Alabama stand?

Just under $3 billion was supposed to fund states’ CHIP programs through March 31, but some states will be running out of money after Jan. 19.

The CHIP program provides health coverage to about 9 million children from lower income households around the U.S. that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. In Alabama, about 160,000 children benefit from the program. More than 5,000 of those are in Tuscaloosa County.

“I can tell you on the Republican and Democrat side, we all want to fund that program,” said state Sen. Del Marsh. “It’s important, and that’s the only unknown we have right now, so we’re sitting back and kind of waiting on that.”

If the U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t renew CHIP funding, about 84,000 children in Alabama risk losing coverage, and the state will have to find funding for another 77,000 children insured under Medicaid through the CHIP program.

“We understand the significance of CHIP, and we will make sure it’s addressed,” Marsh said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the agency is in discussions with states impacted by the funding shortfall.

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