Colorado lawmakers approve using state money to keep health insurance program for kids running | SummitDaily.com

Colorado lawmakers approve using state money to keep health insurance program for kids running

Congress OK’s government funding through Jan. 19, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program through March

By JOHN INGOLD and MARK K. MATTHEWS / The Denver Post

Colorado lawmakers on Thursday approved emergency funds to keep alive a health insurance program for children and pregnant women, amid concerns that a short-term extension of the program's funding OK'd by Congress won't arrive soon enough to help.

In a unanimous vote, members of the Joint Budget Committee approved spending $9.6 million of state funds to run the Children's Health Plan Plus program for an extra month, if necessary. The vote means ominous end-of-coverage letters that Colorado had planned to send next week to more than 75,000 kids and pregnant women covered by the program won't go out.

But the cash infusion doesn't secure the long-term future of the program, which normally is paid for mostly with federal money that Congress has yet to reauthorize for more than a few months at a time.

"I have my fingers crossed that Congress will do the right thing," state Rep. Millie Hamner, a Democrat from Dillon and the chair of the state's budget committee, said just before Thursday's vote.

Children's Health Plan Plus, or CHP+, is the state's version of the national Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers more than 9 million kids across the country. The program provides health coverage for children and pregnant women from low-income families that earn just enough not to qualify for Medicaid.

Read the full story on denverpost.com