It’s a beautiful morning in Pittsburgh, but Ariel Haughton is stressed out. She’s worried her young children’s health insurance coverage will soon lapse.
“So, we’re like a low-middle-class family, right?” she says. “I’m studying. My husband’s working, and our insurance right now is 12 percent of our income — just for my husband and I. And it’s not very good insurance either.”
The policy that covers the couple requires high fees to even see a doctor, and it has a high deductible for further treatment.
In contrast, her young children — 2-year-old Nonnie and his big sister, Rose — are covered right now through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, a federal-state program that was created two decades ago to ensure that kids whose parents don’t have a lot of money, yet make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, can still get health care.
Right now, that coverage for the children doesn’t cost the family anything.
But Pennsylvania’s CHIP program is forecast to run out of money in February.
Though 9 million kids across the U.S. get their health insurance through CHIP, Congress let the program expire Sept. 30.
Since then, states have been burning through the cash that remains in their CHIP accounts, and parents, doctors and state officials are wondering whether Congress will save what
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