Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington, Oregon Weigh Options If Federal Funding For CHIP Runs Out

Amanda Mills, USCDCP
Pixnio -

Washington and Oregon are making contingency plans in case Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP is for low-income families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Funding for CHIP expired in September. Since then the program has been operating on a month-to-month basis with leftover federal funds.

Mary Wood is an assistant Medicaid director at Washington’s Health Care Authority. She said 50,000 kids in the state rely on CHIP.

“For families the care is so invaluable and there are certainly kids receiving care who are needing ongoing care, so it’s invaluable for the families who are on it,” Wood said.

Wood is hopeful that Congress will reauthorize CHIP in December. If that doesn’t happen, state funds might be needed to keep the kids covered. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is already making plans to fund the program with state dollars until April.

Oregon Public Broadcasting contributed to this report.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."