What Is CHIP? What to Know About the Child Health Care Funding Held Hostage in Government Shutdown

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Families dependent on medical treatment through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are scared by the government shutdown, which increases the likelihood that states will run out of funds. Nobel Lett, who suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome sits with his father, Jameson, and mother, Crystal, after school in Columbus, Ohio. REUTERS/Maddie McGarvey

As Republicans and Democrats battle to blame one another for a historic government shutdown, parents dependent on a child health care program for low-income families are fighting to explain the significance of the key government program being placed in jeopardy.

Related: Meet the millions of children who could lose health care coverage because of Congress

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides millions of minors in the U.S. with health care coverage even if their parents lack insurance of their own. An estimated 20 states will run out of CHIP money by February 1 if Congress is unable to make a bipartisan deal, according to Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C. The pending expiration places more than 1.75 million children at risk of losing their health insurance next month.