As tax bill celebrated, funding for 100,000 Tenn. kids' healthcare lingers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As most Republicans in Washington celebrate their tax bill push, saying it’s a Christmas gift, the good tidings for now do not extend to more than 100,000 lower income Tennessee families and a government health insurance program for their kids.

Funding for what is called the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, ran out earlier this fall.

Governors like Tennessee’s Bill Haslam are getting asked about it and they are concerned.

“We have not had any more conversations with Washington or assurances,” he told reporters last Thursday. “Our position still stands. We will lose vital services if that funding goes away.”

What happens is uncertain because those children on the CHIP program come from families making too much to be on the state’s Medicaid program TennCare.

The federal money goes to the state program called CoverKids, which covers an estimated 100,000 Tennessee children.

Top Washington lawmakers maintain the CHIP program money will be restored as part of a spending bill once the tax measure is out of the way, but Tennessee Democrats mince no words about why it’s taken so long.

“We have all these Tennessee working families who have children, who get their health care because of the CHIP program… and the Republicans have chosen to do nothing about funding it. They control Congress,” said Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart.

Other Democrats say restored CHIP funding would be another Christmas gift for the 100,000 Tennessee kids.


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