PROGRAM IS AT RISK OF NOT HAVING FEDERAL FUNDING BEGINNING IN JANUARY THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN IN ALABAMA WILL LOSE COVERAGE UNLESS THE CONGRESS CAN PASS THE AUTHORIZATION TO EXTEND FUNDING

NEWS 5'S ASHLEY KNIGHT BREAKS IT DOWN FOR US THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM HAS A BIG ADVOCATE IN LATE-NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST JIMMY KIMMEL HE TALKED ABOUT IT AFTER HIS INFANT SON HAD OPEN HEART SURGERY "Now CHIP has become a bargaining chip while they work out their new tax plans which means parents of children with cancer, diabetes and heart problems are about to get letters saying their coverage could be cut off next month Merry Christmas, right?" says Kimmel

THE PROGRAM, WHICH MATCHES STATE FUNDING, HELPS INSURE CHILDREN OF PARENTS WITH MODEST INCOMES, BUT WHO ARE NOT QUALIFIED FOR MEDICAID BUT ALABAMA HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THEY'LL LIKELY HAVE TO CLOSE THE PROGRAM IN THE NEW YEAR IF CONGRESS DOESN'T RENEW FUNDING THAT WILL LEAVE OVER 80,000 CHILDREN IN THE STATE WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE CLOSER TO HOME, A STUDY FOUND THAT BETWEEN 2011 AND 2015, 43% OF CHILDREN IN MOBILE COUNTY DEPEND ON THE PROGRAM, WHILE 33% OF CHILDREN RELY ON IT IN BALDWIN COUNTY CONGRESSMAN BRADLEY BYRNE BELIEVES A RESOLUTION WILL COME SOMETIME THIS WEEK

SUPER: Rep Bradley Byrne "But when we pass our funding bill next week, there will be a further authorization for the CHIP program in that bill," US SENATOR- ELECT DOUG JONES IS MAKING A CALL TO ACTION IN A STATEMENT TUESDAY SAYING IN PART: "Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program has reached a crisis level and my future colleagues must stop playing political football with the health care of our children and act now to ensure Alabama's most vulnerable do not begin losing coverage" IF FEDERAL FUNDING IS NOT RENEWED, ALABAMA WILL FREEZE APPLICATIONS FOR THE PROGRAM IN JANUARY AND WILL LIKELY CLOSE THE PROGRAM IN FEBRUARY AFTER RUNNING OUT OF STATE FUNDS

LIVE IN THE STUDIO, ASHLEY KNIGHT NEWS 5

Source: Youtube