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PNS Daily Newscast - January 19, 2018 


It will be up to the U.S. Senate today to take the next step, if a government shutdown is to be averted; also in focus on our Friday rundown, President Trump extends Religious-Refusal Protections to health providers; and, we will tell you about a 15 year old in North Carolina who just formed a Political Action Committee.

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Children's Health Advocate: CHIP Funding Should be 'Non-Negotiable'

About 52,000 children in Washington state get some funding for health coverage through CHIP, which is known as Apple Health for Kids. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
About 52,000 children in Washington state get some funding for health coverage through CHIP, which is known as Apple Health for Kids. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
December 29, 2017

SEATTLE – A last-minute deal in Congress to provide short-term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program hasn't done much to alleviate stress for states and parents going into the new year.

CHIP is one of the main funding streams, along with Medicaid and state funding, for Washington state's insurance program Apple Health for Kids, which covers about half of the state's children.

According to the Washington State Health Authority, about 58,000 kids on Apple Health receive some percent of CHIP funding. Litonya Lester, health policy director for the Children's Alliance, says that funding helps kids with chronic health needs, but also routine checkups.

"We've been told by so many parents, 'Apple Health allowed me to bring my kid in when they said they had a stomach ache, and as a result of that, we discovered they had a more severe health-care issue than we would have thought and they were able to get treatment and get it taken care of,'" she says.

Congress approved funding for CHIP until the end of March. The program mainly helps low-income and working-class families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The program has received bipartisan support since it was authored in 1997 by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Lester says the State of Washington made a commitment ten years ago that its children were going to have health-care coverage regardless of their families' income.

"It's vital that both on the federal level and the state level, we step up and say, Kids' health is important to us," she stresses. "It's absolutely non-negotiable, and we're going to make sure that kids have coverage."

Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress have disagreed on how to fund the program. The cost for CHIP services nationally in 2016 was nearly $16 billion.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA