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Sherrod Brown urges Congress to extend funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program


Published: Fri, December 1, 2017 @ 12:05 a.m.

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is urging Congress to immediately extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Known as Healthy Start in Ohio, the program is set to run out of funding by year’s end. The state is making contingency plans if Congress doesn’t act.

There are 9,973 children in the Mahoning Valley covered under the program: 3,701 in Mahoning County, 3,976 in Trumbull County, and 2,296 in Columbiana County, according to statistics provided by Brown’s office.

CHIP, created in 1997, is a joint state-federal health insurance program for low- to moderate-income children and pregnant women who are not Medicaid-eligible. Within three years of its initial passage, all 50 states opted into the program, providing millions with access to health insurance.

“I urge Congress to extend the funding,” said Patricia Sweeney, Mahoning County health commissioner. “It’s fundamentally important for children to have health care. We need to care for our children. They are our most vulnerable.”

Nationwide, CHIP provides access to comprehensive, affordable coverage to more than 9 million children, and Healthy Start helps cover more than 213,000 Ohioans.

“Because folks in Congress with taxpayer-funded health care haven’t done their jobs, Ohio families and their kids will pay the price,” said Brown. “We need to put politics aside, roll up our sleeves, and extend CHIP for families across Ohio.”

A bill cosponsored by Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, passed the Senate Finance Committee but has not come to the floor of the legislative body for a vote.


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