Editorial: Congress must fund CHIP soon

While Congress is busy expanding the nation’s debt and deficit with a tax-cut plan, it is ignoring an overdue bill that jeopardizes health-care coverage for millions of children.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program lapsed on Sept. 30. It’s been around for 20 years, providing health care to children in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage.

The program holds appeal because children are relatively cheap to cover and they shouldn’t have to face the consequences of their parents’ insurance status. Before CHIP, the uninsured rate among children was 14 percent. Now it’s less than 5 percent. About 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women are covered nationwide, with about 60,000 in Washington state and 22,000 in Idaho.

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