By TIM BOULWARE
Senator Jon Tester and Gov. Steve Bullock held a press conference at the state capitol Friday asking Congress to renew Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. In Montana, CHIP funds the Montana Healthy Kids Program offering free or low-cost health insurance to almost 24,000 kids.
Tester emphasized why solving this problem now is so important.
“If Congress doesn’t act soon, The Healthy Montana Kids Program could run out of money by the first quarter of the new year,” he said. “That is totally unacceptable.”
Bullock believes this issue should bring the political parties together instead of being something else that divides them.
“This isn’t a partisan issue in Montana, and really shouldn’t be anywhere in America,” Bullock said, “That’s why I commend Senator Tester for bringing bi-partisan legislation forward. Without CHIP, families may pay on average 10 times more for their kids’ healthcare, and for families with high-needs children, out-of-pocket spending will skyrocket.”
Tester called the bi-partisan bill he is sponsoring “The Kids Act,” which would reauthorize the CHIP program for five years, guaranteeing thousands of children have continued access to healthcare and provide additional funding for states that have an unexpected increase in CHIP enrollment.