The Children's Health Insurance Program covers annual check-ups and more medical procedures for nearly 9 million kids in low-income families, but congressional bickering is putting it at risk, NBC News reported.
The program has enjoyed bipartisan support since it was created in 1997, but legislators have let this year's reauthorization deadline pass in the debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Now funding in 11 states will run out by the end of the year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and 21 more states by March.
CHIP gives health insurance to children and pregnant mothers who don't qualify for Medicaid but can't afford private insurance, and Census data shows the rate of uninsured children has dropped from 14 to about 4.5 percent in the past 20 years, experts say.
It's helped Roland Williams, 11, a St. Louis boy with an extremely rare form of lung cancer whose mother was told last year that "he would make it to see his 10th birthday."