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Colorado families prepare for CHIP funding expiration

75,000 CO families under insurance program
Posted at 5:49 PM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 20:27:34-05

LONGMONT, Colo. – Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, remains held up in the 2018 budget that is currently stalled in Congress.

Healthcare funding for 75,000 Colorado families and 800 pregnant women will run out by January 31, 2018, if Congress doesn’t find the money.

“With programs like CHIP, our family's been able to make it work. But without CHIP funding, things kind of snowball,” Andrew Montoya told Denver7.

He and his wife live in Longmont with their three young daughters. The family relies on CHIP.

“The children should not have to suffer, simply because Congress can’t get itself straight,” he said.

This national issue made primetime television on Monday night, when Late Show host Jimmy Kimmel spent his monologue pushing Congress to act.

“I've had enough of this. I don't know what could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to rich people ahead of the lives of children,” Kimmel said.

In November, a letter went out to CHIP families in Colorado that warned parents they might need to start looking for private insurers.

“I don't know that a whole lot of our families really understand what's happening yet, which I feel is scary in a different way,” Farah Broomandi said.

She’s the Practice Manager and Kids First Pediatrics. This is a fear Broomandi said doesn’t help the stigma already surrounding these families.

“I think that there's a very rough stereotype that is heartbreaking,” she said.

This is a stereotype Montoya doesn’t exactly fit. He’s an attorney.

“In my situation, it's because I decided to be an attorney for a non-profit organization that does not charge clients for representation,” he said.

Under CHIP, a family of four can earn up to $5,330 a month in coverage.

Colorado would be one of the first to see federal program funding run out.

On Tuesday, Congressman Mike Coffman released this statement:

On November 3rd, with my support, the House passed a CHIP reauthorization bill. Unfortunately, the Senate has not yet reauthorized this essential program, that serves so many children both in Colorado and nationwide, as of today. I remain optimistic that the Senate will reauthorize CHIP soon.   I will continue to encourage Senators to work in a bipartisan manner to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

Both of our State’s U.S. Senators are cosponsoring a bill that would extend CHIP funding through 2022.

“We're not waiting for the government to take care of us. We are people who don't think that money is the end all, be all and want to do some good in the world,” Montoya added.

While both parties are optimistic about funding for CHIP, Broomandi is encouraging CHIP families to get all the child well-checks and medication they need now.