By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
A new Morning Consult and Politico tracking poll shows that a large majority of Americans would support shutting down the government if Congress can’t reach a deal on funding for the Child Health Insurance Program.
About 69 percent of voters said they thought the renewal of funding for CHIP is an important enough issue to warrant a government shutdown.
Congress failed in September to reauthorize funding for the program ahead of the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. If Congress doesn’t reach a funding deal by March, more than 80,000 children in Alabama could be without health insurance.
Alabama’s “All Kids” CHIP Program, one of Alabama’s two CHIP programs, relies solely on federal funding and could be exhausted by March 2018 if no new funding is restored.
More than 83,000 children in the state are covered by All Kids and another 75,000 are covered by a separate Medicaid component of CHIP. Both programs provide coverage for more than 9 million children across the U.S.
Those covered under All Kids would have to find other insurance or go without, were the program to shut down.
If no deal is reached, Alabama would lose an estimated $280 million in funding for CHIP, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.
When voters were asked in general whether they support a government shutdown over achieving policy goals, 63 percent said Congress should take all necessary steps to avoid a government shutdown. But when they were asked about specific policies, their support of a government shutdown increased.
Voters also said defense and homeland security funding and hurricane recovery aid for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were issues that could also warrant a government shutdown.