WASHINGTON (AP) — States are scrambling to decide how to spend the dwindling federal dollars used for a popular program that provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children.

Members of Congress left Washington for the holiday break without providing long-term funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. A short-term patch approved Thursday is designed to maintain funding through March, although some officials say the money could run out in early February.

There’s little argument among Republicans and Democrats that the insurance program known as CHIP should be renewed for five years. The sticking point is how to pay for it.

A survey by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 14 states have been planning to end or phase out coverage for children, including five by the end of January.


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