Children’s health program faces uncertain future – Orlando Sentinel

TALLAHASSEE — A 20 year-old health care program for low-income children is in danger of dying, putting nearly 30,000 Central Florida children at risk of losing coverage.

Congress failed to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program before its authorization ran out Sept. 30, and it’s unclear whether legislation to extend the program will pass before states, such as Florida, run out of money for it.

Florida has $359 million carried over from the prior year it can use for the program, but a report from a commission set up to analyze CHIP and Medicaid says Florida will run out of funding for the program sometime in January if it isn’t reauthorized.

Health care access advocates say CHIP is vital for many families who aren’t poor enough for Medicaid but not wealthy enough for essential care for their children. Some CHIP plans also provide coverage for dental or other preventative care not offered under many private plans but can help prevent more expensive health problems later in life.

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