Hickenlooper makes emergency plea for lawmakers to extend children’s health insurance program | SummitDaily.com

Hickenlooper makes emergency plea for lawmakers to extend children’s health insurance program

The $9.6 million request would fund the Children’s Health Plan Plus for an extra month

By JOHN INGOLD / The Denver Post

Marbell Castillo, who often takes her granddaughter Maia to her doctor appointments, worries about future health coverage for the little girl if CHIP is not funded.

Colorado may use state money to extend the life of a health insurance program for children, as Congress continues to delay reauthorizing the federal funds that normally pay for it.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday sent an emergency request to lawmakers to dip into state coffers and extend the life of the program for one month — until the end of February. The program, which in Colorado is known as the Children's Health Plan Plus, is currently set to end on Jan. 31 unless Congress reauthorizes the money for it.

"Vulnerable children and pregnant women are being used as bargaining chips," Hickenlooper said in a statement. "This request is not a cure. It's a one-time only bandaid as we wait for Congress to do what's right."

Without money to extend it, state officials expect to begin sending out letters next week to families covered by the program, notifying them of the program's end.

CHP+, which is part of the national Children's Health Insurance Program, serves about 75,000children and pregnant women. To qualify, families must be low-income but make just enough to be above the cutoff for Medicaid.

Read the full story on denverpost.com