State May Need Millions To Save Health Care For Kids

PIXABAY VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

  • Sarah Trujillo
  • December 20, 2017

The Childrens Health Insurance Program covers over 9 million kids nationally, but the well of federal funds has been dry for months, and with strife in Congress, uncertainty lingers.

Kids in New Mexico won’t face losing coverage. As long as Medicaid is OK here, the program is OK too.  But in order to fill the budget hole being created federally, the state still might have to come up with just over 30 million dollars.

The CHIP program insures over 16,000 low-income New Mexican children. The state Human Services Department said there’s enough money set aside to keep the program running until June 2018, but it all depends on Congress passing a bill to keep it going.

State Representative Debbie Armstrong said she’s hopeful for a reauthorization but that personally, “Pardon the pun, I think CHIP is being used as a bargaining chip for federal negotiations on a variety of things.”

There have been promises from the House and Senate to have a solution soon but much is left to speculation since all negotiations are being done privately.

Children are New Mexico’s top priority, Armstrong said, so for now state officials will prepare for the worst.

KUNM reached out to HSD for comment, but as of airtime, didn’t get one.

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KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the McCune Charitable Foundation.

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