Doug Jones cosponsors bill to renew CHIP funding


Right out of the gate, doing the right thing:

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., on Thursday announced that he is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would extend the Children's Health Insurance Program for five years as Congress negotiates restoring funding for the program.

Jones became the 24th co-sponsor of the bill, the Keep Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017. During the campaign, Jones said reauthorizing the program, known as CHIP, would be among his top agenda item. The program is for children from families who can't afford health insurance but whose income disqualifies them from Medicaid.

"I'm proud to announce that the first piece of legislation I'll co-sponsor will ensure a long-term funding solution for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)," Jones said in a statement Thursday. "I have said from day one that my first priority when I arrived in Washington would be to protect the 150,000 Alabama children -- and the nine million more across the nation -- who depend on CHIP for their healthcare. This bipartisan plan would extend CHIP funding until FY 2022, which will ensure low-income families can continue to count on this critical program and it will protect states from having to foot the entire bill. It is long past time to renew CHIP and I'm proud to join my colleagues who are fighting for the children who depend on it."

ALL Kids, the Alabama program funded through CHIP, warned late last year that it would have to stop enrolling children into the program on Jan. 1 and may run out of funding by Feb. 1. But after Congress approved a short-term spending plan on Dec. 21, ALL Kids withdrew those warnings for the time being.

"Further updates to come as Congress needs to pass full, long term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program," the ALL Kids website states.

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