Shutdown bill will keep Kansas' CHIP program funded for years to come

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — While most Americans welcomed the end of the federal government shutdown, the news meant even more to tens of thousands of Kansas’ poorer children. Tucked into the bill President Donald Trump signed Monday night was six-year re-authorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, otherwise known as CHIP.

The state only had enough money to fund the program, which provides insurance for low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid, for a little more than a month, according to the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment (KDHE). A spokesperson told 13 NEWS barring any other extensions, the state would have moved the CHIP enrollees to Medicaid.

“KDHE was prepared to move individuals in the CHIP population to Medicaid to avoid disruption of services, but is thankful that with the passage of the CHIP legislation, those plans do not need to be implemented,” the agency said.

Now, with the extension, KDHE says they will be able to continue to provide services without interruption. The agency added they will “responsibly administer” the funding provided by the federal government that allows a buffer should the program expire six years from now and isn’t immediately reauthorized.

The original CHIP authorization expired in October 2017. At the time, KDHE said the agency had set aside enough funding to last until the first quarter of this year. More than 8 million children nationwide rely on CHIP for medical services. KDHE says 37,647 of them are in Kansas.