RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Millions across the country are in danger of not being able to afford health insurance, and that includes 68,000 families and 1,100 pregnant women in Virginia. Without Congressional approval of the Children’s Health Insurance Program by January 31, 2018, they could all be in trouble.
“This needs to be a priority because we’re risking the health of the children in our state,” says Ashley Everette of Voices for Virginia’s Children.
For decades, millions of families across the country and thousands in Virginia have depended on CHIP, which provides health insurance for kids and pregnant women in low-income families. On Tuesday, notices started going out to those in Virginia letting them know what could happen come January.
“The state is also encouraging families to schedule those important appointments, just in case Congress does not pass legislation,” Everette said.
Thanks to a combination of CHIP and Medicaid, 95 percent of children in the state have health insurance.
Congress is looking for a way to fund CHIP and insists that bipartisan support is in favor of finding a way. Everette says lawmakers have yet to come to an agreement on how the program should be funded and that delay could prove costly.
“Pediatricians see a lot of kids with asthma, and not being able to get your inhaler can be life-threatening,” Everette said.