Parents facing tough decisions this holiday because of All Kids unknown future

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- The future of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is up in the air right now, but Congress holds the key to its renewal. All Kids is the Alabama version of CHIP, and parents are worried about what this means for their families.

Heather Vaughn's two kids have been insured under All Kids for the past seven years. She said sadly, she wasn't surprised to find out the program was in danger of ending.

"There' a lot of misunderstanding about the qualifications of those programs. There is a perception that these programs are for people who are lazy, or for people who do not work or refuse to work," she explained.

For her, the savings are around $200 to $250 a month. She said at the time, as a single mother, that was huge for her.

"It's for the middle class and the working poor who do work, but they definitely make too much money to qualify for something like Medicaid," Vaughn explained.

Vaughn's kids were up for re-enrollment in January. Her son was going to age out of All Kids in about six months, but now "You know right here at the holidays there's just so much going on. It's really just forcing us to sit down quickly and figure out what are we going to do if this happens."

Currently she pays about a $100 a year for each of her kids' insurance. "It is kind of stressful to try and figure out in a months time how you're going to come up with another $250 a month to insure your kids."

Vaughn said she is hoping Congress will make things right.

"I'm hoping that this has just been a scare for nothing, but I hope it's been kind of a wake-up call to understand what these programs are, and how important they are," she said.

She said this program isn't about making it easy on adults.

"There's a lot right now in this country that we are divided on, but this is about kids. Making sure that we can keep kids healthy. That kids who need access to healthcare can have it," she said.