Oklahoma CHIP faces trouble if Congress can't pass extension

Oklahoma City — Oklahoma pediatricians are urging Congress to quickly reauthorize a health insurance program for children before it expires in September potentially costing the state $49 million.

Congress created the Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997 to expand health insurance to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. Its latest extension will expire on Sept. 30 if Congress doesn't act.

States receive a federal block grant and have some latitude in running their CHIP programs, so long as they commit their own money as matching funds, according to the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. In Oklahoma, CHIP covers children in families earning up to 210 percent of the poverty line, or $51,660 for a family of four.

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