Although the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program has received bipartisan support from both Utahns and Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, said he wants to push for more funding for the program when it is up for a vote in July.
By spreading awareness about the program and the families in need, Matheson said he hopes to draw a "substantial amount" of money for the program, which provides health insurance to children in Utah.
"They can do so much better," he said, referring to Congress, during a press conference at Sugarhouse Park on Saturday.
Karen Crompton, executive director of Voices for Utah Children, said she would like to raise the $40 billion 10-year plan to $50 billion and said she would lobby as much as possible to "gain real momentum to make that happen."
Matheson also said the number of children CHIP covers, which averages 11,000 per year, needs to be increased.
CHIP covers children from working-class families that average a $40,000 or less annual household income for a family of four. Many children, however, go without health insurance because their family's income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but not enough money is come to afford private insurance.
Kari Scribner is part of one of those families. Not long after she moved to Tooele, her three children began to suffer from asthma, an illness they obtained from living in a 50-year-old house in northern California. Even though Scribner and her husband owned their own business, for years her "average middle-class" family was denied basic health insurance numerous times.
"There's a gray middle area between the people that can apply for health care and Medicaid," Scribner said. "And I don't think any child should have to suffer."