Schumer: Capital Region kids could lose insurance if Congress doesn't act

April 14, 2017 06:01 PM

GLENS FALLS -- Senator Charles Schumer was at Glens Falls Hospital Friday starting his push for a renewal of the Child Health Insurance Program or CHIP, which could expire at the end of September if Congress doesn't renew funding.

330,000 children across the state could lose coverage. That number includes 20,000 in the Capital Region and 8,000 in the Glens Falls area.

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You might better recognize CHIP's sister state program, Child Health Plus. Child Health Plus recieves the majority of its funding from CHIP. The program is for families whose healthy children aren't eligible for Medicaid, but would struggle to afford private insurance. For example, a family of four making under $95,000 per year would qualify.  

New York gets around $35 million of Children's Health Insurance Program funding a month. Some argue the federal government should stay out of healthcare, not Schumer.

"CHIP has been a very effective efficiant program, they haven't found a waste in it at all. You get a kid at primary care. You prevent the problems from getting much worse," said Schumer. 

We asked the Glens Falls Hospital CEO what would happen if CHIP expired and uninsured children arrived at its doors.

"We take care of them. We take care of them. And that puts a continued burden on the safety net providers: hospitals," said Dianne Shugrue, CEO.

Dr. Kevin Gallagher, an employee at Glens Falls Hospital and a primary care physician at the hospital's Granville Family Health Center, says many of his patients rely on the program. During a visit to Granville, he introduced us to Rachel Seebode. Her seven-year-old is disabled, so her visit to the clinic and her frequent trips to Boston for treatment are covered by Medicaid. But the Seebodes rely on Child Health Plus to cover their relatively healthy other child.

"Health insurance rates are very expensive for us through the hospital, I only work there part time. It would probably be an extra four to five hundred dollars a month for Gabriella," said Seebode.

There are more than 1,600 kids in Washington County on the insurance program.

Right now, only five percent of kids in New York are uninsured. Sen. Schumer says before CHIP started, that number was 15 percent.


WNYT Staff

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