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Colorado extends low-income health program imperiled by Congress

December 21, 2017 Updated: December 21, 2017 at 11:03 pm
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photo - FILE - Jackie Tardif and her daughter Lillyan Hughes, right, receive treatment from Doni Samson and Physicians assistant Greg Morris inside the Peak Vista Bridging the Gaps Homless Medical Outreach van on Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010. (Gazette file photo)
FILE - Jackie Tardif and her daughter Lillyan Hughes, right, receive treatment from Doni Samson and Physicians assistant Greg Morris inside the Peak Vista Bridging the Gaps Homless Medical Outreach van on Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010. (Gazette file photo) 

State lawmakers on Thursday extended an imperiled health insurance program that serves thousands of children and mothers in low-income families across the state.

The Joint Budget Committee approved funding to continue the Child Health Plan Plus, or CHP+, an extra month through Feb. 28, Gov. John Hickenlooper's office announced.

Money from the Children's Basic Health Plan Trust, which was created from the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement, will be used to keep the program going that extra month.

Hickenlooper made the extension request after Congress failed to reauthorize the program in September - leaving states scrambling to keep their programs going as long as possible before federal funding runs out.

Colorado's program was expected to end on Jan. 31, and its leaders recently urged enrollees to seek other coverage in case lawmakers on Capitol Hill don't act in time.

The program offers health coverage to children, pregnant women and new mothers whose household incomes are under 260 percent of the federal poverty level. That's about $42,200 for a family of two and about $64,000 for a family of four.

It covers 7,268 children and mothers in El Paso County, and 75,334 people across the state.

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Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter: @jakobrodgers

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