WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the release of the President’s FY2016 Budget, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the inclusion of a four-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been included in the White House budget proposal. Last week, Brown announced a plan to that would extend funding for the current program through 2019 and released a county-by-county snapshot of the number Ohio children who rely on CHIP for health coverage.

“CHIP provides more than ten million children, including 130,000 Ohio children, the ability to grow into healthy adults through affordable health insurance,” Brown said “Thanks to CHIP, the number of uninsured children has fallen by half – from almost 14 percent in 1997 to a record low of 7 percent in 2012. I am pleased that the President has included funding for this critical program in his budget.”

While Brown will introduce standalone legislation later this year, Brown – a member of the Senate Finance Committee – introduced an amendment to the Hire More Heroes Act of 2015 that would have extended CHIP funding for four years during Committee markup last Wednesday.

CHIP, which was created in 1997, is a joint state-federal health insurance program for low- to moderate-income children and pregnant women who are not Medicaid eligible. Within three years of its initial passage, all 50 states opted into the program, providing millions with access to health insurance. Nationwide, CHIP provides access to comprehensive, affordable coverage to more than ten million children, including more than 130,000 Ohioans. Without action, federal funding for CHIP will expire in September 2015.

In 2013, Ohio received $376 million in federal match dollars to help fund CHIP in the state. These federal dollars cover nearly 75 percent of the state’s expenditures for children between 156 and 206 percent of the federal poverty level. Underscoring the need for Congressional action, 40 governors – including Ohio governor John Kasich – sent letters last year to Congressional representatives urging swift action to extend the current program. The need for prompt federal action is crucial as states begin the process of constructing their annual budgets. If Congress doesn’t act swiftly to extend funding, Ohio could lose out on up to an estimated $146 million in federal funds in 2016 alone.