Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler addresses a crowd at her in-person town hall, in January, 2017.  

File photo

U.S. Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, voted to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a provision that was included in a stopgap spending bill the U.S. House.

The funding provides $2.8 billion for CHIP to operate through the end of March so every state, including Washington, can continue to provide vital care to low-income children without disruption, according to a news release.

Last month, Herrera Beutler voted in support of a bill that passed the U.S. House to reauthorize CHIP funding for five years, but that bill stalled in the U.S. Senate. The short-term spending bill the House passed will now head to the Senate for a vote.

“While I fought to include a longer-term fix for the Children’s Health Insurance Program similar to the five-year extension I helped the U.S. House pass in November, the three-month funding patch I supported today will ensure the health care of nine million vulnerable children who rely on CHIP doesn’t lapse,” said Herrera Beutler stated in a news release. “Providing quality care for low-income children has always been a top priority of mine and I won’t let up in my efforts to extend CHIP long-term so that their health isn’t jeopardized.”

This spending bill also extends funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Community Health Centers, such as the Cowlitz Family Health Center, Valley View Health Centers, and SeaMar Clinics through March.

FQHC are community-based health care providers that provide vital primary care services in underserved areas. They offer low-cost health care options to individuals who are uninsured, on Medicaid, or have private insurance.

While nearly 30 million kids get their care through Medicaid, roughly nine million low-income kids get their care through CHIP. Kids enrolled in CHIP are in families with incomes just above the threshold for qualifying for Medicaid, but that have low enough incomes that purchasing healthcare is a financial challenge.

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