CINCINNATI -- A group of Avondale and Price Hill moms are gathering Wednesday to fight for their children's health insurance.
More than 432,000 kids across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio rely on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), but its funding is about to run out.
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CHIP is a federally funded program that covers children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but who do not have access to adequate health insurance options. However, Ohio will run out of funding by the end of February if not re-authorized by Congress.
"The time is now for us to renew the CHIP program," said Dr. Ray Bignall, a clinical fellow in pediatric nephrology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "Children across our state are running the risk of losing their healthcare insurance within several weeks. There is really no room for error."
Bignall treats children with kidney disease and said they use CHIP to treat some of the highest risk patients.
"If the CHIP program funding is lost, it will have devastating consequences to the way that healthcare is covered here for kids not only in the state of Ohio, but across the country," Bignall said. "I don't even want to think about what kind of a conversation I'd have to have with a parent who loses coverage for their child because our elected officials in Congress don't have the will or the desire to help them in a way that only they can."
A group of doctors and working families will be baking chocolate chip cookies Wednesday morning to deliver to local offices of U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot and senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. This "Chips for CHIP" effort will urge these legislators to re-authorize CHIP funding.
Brown has joined a bipartisan group in support of extending CHIP for five years and late last year, Portman served on a Senate finance committee that voted unanimously in favor of extending the program.