MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA/AP) - More than 150,000 Alabama children will lose health insurance in February unless Congress votes to restore funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.
Alabama health officials have announced steps to freeze, and then ultimately close the ALL Kids program, which provides subsidized insurance for working families. Officials cite Congress' failure to renew funding for the program, the Associated Press reports.
The state will freeze enrollment on Jan. 1, 2018, without a reauthorization, meaning 84,000 children that benefit from ALL Kids will lose coverage on Feb. 1.
Another 75,000 children who benefit from the Medicaid CHIP expansion program will also lose coverage, according to documents from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Cathy Caldwell, director of Alabama's CHIP program, told the AP the program's closure will be devastating for many families.
Caldwell said the program helped bring down the number of children who go without health insurance in the state from one in five in the 1990s to 2.4 percent today.
Below is a county-by-county list of the number of children enrolled in the programs as of August 2017:
Doug Jones also released a statement about the decision, via Twitter: