Sen. Sherrod Brown announced plans to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program — better known as CHIP — until 2019. This program affects 1,378 children in Medina County and 2,857 children in Lorain County by providing health care to low-to-moderate income children and pregnant women who are not eligible for Medicaid.
"CHIP means vaccines, it means shots and pediatric dental coverage," Brown said. "It means better attendance at school." The program was created by Congress in 1997 with the intention of giving low-income families a health-care option for their children even though they earned a little too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage.
According to Brown as the funding for the CHIP program expires in September he hopes to find bipartisan support for continuing the coverage until 2019. "If Congress doesn't act, Ohio stands to lose up to $146 million in federal funds in 2016 alone," Brown said. "It's always been bipartisan and it needs to continue to be."
He said, as he had spoken to Finance Committee Chair Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, about securing funding to continue the CHIP program, he would eventually like to see families covered under private insurance through the Affordable Care Act. CHIP he felt should be continued till the private exchanges were still new and until the government health care roll out was complete.
"We know Congress is working to undermine the effectiveness of the ACA," Brown said. He said he hopes by 2019, Americans will have better health-care choices under the Affordable Care Act and the CHIP program no longer may be necessary.
Brown said Republicans need to offer a better explanation of why they want to repeal the law and what they would replace it with.
"I think Republicans ... who continue to undermine this law need to explain to 700,000 Ohioans why they want to take away their insurance," he said.