Critical child health insurance funding is running out

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FLINT (WJRT) (12/14/2017) - "We're not sure what would happen," said Elizabeth Burtch with Genesee Health System. "We're not sure how we would be able to fill those gaps."

Burtch has been on the edge of her seat, waiting to see if the United States Congress will reauthorize funding for CHIP. She described it as a safety net for kids and pregnant women who don't quite meet the requirement for Medicaid coverage.

"It insures about 9 million children throughout the nation, about 100,000 in our area," she said.

And, that doesn't include the hundreds served at both the Hamilton Community Health Network and GHS Health Centers in Flint.

"Which offer free and low cost health services to anyone that walks through their doors," Burtch explained. "Anybody at all can walk in."

And, it goes beyond doctor visits. $4.1 million dollars of CHIP funding has made pipe replacement possible at 1,240 homes in Flint this year. That's why the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee sent a letter to Congress pushing for an extension.

"When they expanded that program, we could use those funds, CHIP funds for any Medicaid eligible home, where they have any Medicaid eligible children in that home," explained Brigadier General Michael McDaniel, the FAST Start Coordinator.

He explained that allowed for part of the $100 million federal dollars to be freed up to support other infrastructure projects in the City of Flint.

"Hopefully those funds, Congress will renew those funds and they'll continue," he added.

The State Health Department says Michigan's funding runs through April or May of next year. If no action is taken, people currently using CHIP funds will get a letter from MDHHS in January.

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