Buchanan: Key Children’s Health Funding Running Out
6,000+ Kids in Sarasota, Manatee Counties Affected
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today called on the U.S. Senate to quickly fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to make sure that thousands of low-income kids in his district do not lose coverage. Funding for the program expired on Sept. 30 but the vast majority of states, including Florida, have residual funding that will last through the end of this year.
With Buchanan’s support, the House on Friday passed the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act (H.R. 3922), bipartisan legislation to reauthorize CHIP funding.
“This important program provides peace of mind to families that if their children get sick they will get the medical attention they need,” Buchanan said. “I grew up in a blue-collar home with five brothers and sisters so I understand how important that is. The Senate needs to act swiftly and get this bill to the president's desk.”
Nine million children are enrolled nationwide in CHIP, including 375,000 in Florida. In Sarasota County, 3,268 children are enrolled in the program with 2,922 in Manatee County and 12,600 in Hillsborough County.
The CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act extends CHIP funding for five years. It also extends several public health programs including the Special Diabetes Program, which provides $150 million annually for type 1 diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health.
The bill also funds Community Health Centers, which serve 25 million of the country’s most vulnerable patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Buchanan, a longtime supporter of CHIP, was one of 44 Republicans in 2007 to vote to override then-President George W. Bush’s veto of a bill extending the program.