LeBonheur president says funding for CHIP is “no brainer”

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Children's Health Insurance Program has been around for 20 years.

CHIP provides low cost health insurance for working families.

Those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but can't afford private insurance.

It covers routine check ups, immunizations and prescriptions.

CHIP is financed through a partnership between states and the federal government, so after Congress missed the deadline to re-authorize funding, some states could soon run out of money.

"There are a lot of families and kids that are at risk out there right now. There`s about 100,000 children in TN on CHIP," Meri Amour said.

Armour is the President & CEO of LeBonheur Children`s Hospital.

The hospital recently tweeted at lawmakers from Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi about the importance of CHIP, using the hashtag Keep Kids Covered.

Armour says LeBonheur will continue to care for sick children, no matter what happens with CHIP funding or a family's ability to pay.

She says the real risk is that families having to worry about insurance, won't seek care at all.

"Without that security there, they become frightened and they postpone things that should be done or sometimes don`t take their kids in for health care because they can`t afford some of the payments that might be leveled on them," Armour said.

And a greater number of sick, uninsured children, Armour says, runs completely counter to the reason CHIP was created.

"This is a no brainer decision in my opinion for Congress, I mean they ought to approve this, it has proven itself time and time and time again to be a money saver in the long run."

A money saver, Armour says, and safety net for families who need it the most.