MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA/AP) - The parents of more than 150,000 Alabama kids can finally rest knowing their children will not lose their health coverage: Congress has approved a bipartisan agreement to re-open the federal government through Feb. 8.
The short-term funding measure includes a six-year reauthorization of the children's health insurance program.
CHIP provides coverage for millions of young people in families with modest incomes.
In Alabama the program is split between Medicaid and the Alabama Department of Public Health, which operates ALL Kids. Between the two more than 150,000 children in Alabama are covered.
Jim Carnes policy director at Alabama Arise says it should not have taken this long.
"Families across Alabama deserve to breathe a sigh of relief, but it never should have come to this. CHIP funding deserved a quick, straightforward renewal before it expired nearly four months ago. Delaying the renewal and tying it to other important issues was unnecessary and irresponsible," said Carnes.
For the ALL Kids program this means they will be able to avoid an enrollment freeze and continue their mission of providing life-saving coverage.
"It has been a long time coming, but we are very happy. It really made a difference that Alabama citizens called members of congress and let their voices be heard," said Cathy Caldwell, ADPH CHIP Director.
And families who depend on this coverage are not the only ones relieved; this is also a big relief for our state legislators. If CHIP had not been renewed Alabama would have had to pick up the tab for children who get their Medicaid paid for through the program.
State leaders reacted Monday afternoon, saying:
Gov. Kay Ivey:
Rep. Terri Sewell:
Rep. Martha Roby: