Gov. Brown fighting to keep health care for families

CHIP provides health coverage for 9 million people across the country, with 80,000 of those people being children and pregnant women in Oregon.

Posted: Dec. 12, 2017 7:05 PM
Updated: Dec. 12, 2017 7:09 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Gov. Kate Brown will be in Eugene Wednesday to meet with families who use the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which may lose federal funding.

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CHIP provides health coverage for 9 million people across the country, with 80,000 of those people being children and pregnant women in Oregon.

KEZI spoke with Karen Gaffney, the Director of Lane County Health and Human Services. She said 6,500 children under 18 years old in Lane County get their health insurance through CHIP.

Since September when funding lapsed, Gov. Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority to manage finances and work with coordinated care organizations to ensure coverage to those impacted through April 2018.

Gaffney said if CHIP loses federal funding it would really hurt the families that use the program. She said most of them are living just above the poverty line.

"If the program were to end, they're really aren't a lot of other options for these families,” said Gaffney. “They don't qualify for Medicaid and so the other option would be to purchase insurance on the exchange."

Gaffney said there is no clear timeline for Congress to renew federal funding for the program.

Gov. Brown will be visiting Eugene Pediatric Associates Wednesday morning to meet with some of the families who would be impacted by the loss of chip funding.

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