Thousands of children and pregnant women are in danger of losing their healthcare. As the national healthcare debate continues, it has been reported from Washington D.C. by several sources that Congress has missed the September 30 deadline to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

CHIP is a nationwide healthcare program designed to ensure that children from low income families receive the healthcare they need. CHIP uses a combination of state and federal funding and is known in Louisiana as LaCHIP.

LaCHIP provides health coverage to uninsured children up to age 19. The program pays for healthcare such as hospital visits, doctor's appointments, prescription drugs, and immunizations. LaCHIP is widely recognized as a bipartisan programs that rarely causes controversy.

LaCHIP is one of the many state CHIP programs that will run out of federal funding by March of 2018. Some states will not even have enough money to last beyond the end of the year.

The program has been in place since 1997 and currently provides healthcare to thousands of children and pregnant women in Louisiana. It is estimated that LaChip insures around 125,000 children in Louisiana.

As of this writing, there are two bills that have been passed through the the Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce Committees. While both plans are different, they would each continue funding for LaChip for the next 5 years. There has been no indication of how long either bill would take to be passed through Congress.

Last year,  a letter was written to the committees by more than 50 different children’s organizations. Among those organizations were American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Children’s Hospital Association, the Children’s Health Fund, the Children’s Defense Fund. The letter touted the success of CHIP and warned of the ramifications if funding is not extended. The letter reads: “If CHIP funding is not extended beyond 2017, many CHIP-enrolled children and pregnant women would likely become underinsured or uninsured altogether, which would threaten their access to care and the historic gains made insuring children over the past two decades.”

For more information contact Senator Bill Cassidy at 225-929-7711.