Group rallies for health programs outside Rep. King's office

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MASSAPEQUA PARK -

Dozens of activists rallied Wednesday outside the Massapequa Park office of United States Rep. Peter King, pushing for the reinstatement of two health care programs Congress did not renew in September.

One of those programs is the Child Health Insurance Plan, or CHIP, which covers children from families who do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance.

About 57,000 children on Long Island are covered by CHIP and could lose that coverage if the program is not reinstated.

"By not renewing CHIP, Congress has put this excellent health care that our children receive in jeopardy," says Dr. Eve Keif, a pediatrician. "Our children deserve better."

The other program the group wants King to address is the Disproportionate Share Hospital program, DSH, which subsidizes hospitals so they take care of the uninsured or underinsured. If cuts take effect, hospitals in New York state stand to lose $330 million in subsidies.

"Hospitals on Long Island depend on DSH for high-quality care for thousands of underinsured and uninsured," says home health care worker Shirley Newsome.

News 12 reached out to King's office for comment on the group's demands.

"I have always supported the Children's Health Insurance Program and led the fight for DSH more than 10 years ago," King said in a statement. "Of course I'm working to restore and continue both programs."

The group says its next step will be trying to meet with King.

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