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Federal Bill Paves Way For Children's Health Insurance Expansion In Kansas


Kansas City, KS – President Barack Obama signed a bill yesterday expanding the federal State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. The move could mean more Kansas children have health insurance, but as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, the state will have to find more money for its share.

About 40,000 Kansas children are enrolled in the state's health insurance program. State lawmakers approved legislation last year to expand coverage to an additional 8,000 children, as long as Congress agrees to help fund it.

The recent SCHIP reauthorization provides that federal money, but Kansas lawmakers still have to approve about three million dollars in additional state funds to actually implement the expansion. Senator Jim Barnett chairs the health and welfare committee and says the state's facing some hard choices right now.

Barnett: "We're looking at major deficits and reductions in spending, not expansions."

Barnett says the budget situation could put SCHIP expansion plans on hold.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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