The Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP, provides low-cost coverage to children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
But it has become caught up in a political stalemate over how to fund it. Congress failed to reauthorize the program before it expired in September, and legislation to fix the problem remains stalled.
Fresh federal money for CHIP dried up Oct. 1. Several states are expected to deplete their remaining funds for the program by late December or late January.
The uncertainty has left states scrambling - and it's causing worries for families that depend on the program.
Sen. Mike Rounds thinks the hold up is political.
"I think they want to find some other items that are not as popular as CHIP to put in with (the bill) to try to get those through the floor as well," Rounds said. "And I think that's what's really holding it up."
The U.S. House did pass a bill to fund CHIP, but many Democrats opposed it because it requires wealthy medicare patients to pay higher premiums and it taps into public health funds created by the Affordable Care Act.
KELOLAND TV contributed to this report. © 2017 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
The collateral damage from Congress' struggle to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law could include a program that covers more than 8 million low-income children.