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By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel blasted Congress in an emotional plea on Monday, urging them to restore and improve the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Now, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is backing him up.

The program serves 9 million low-income children across the country, including more than 146,000 children in Maryland, where Hogan says a congressional failure would have a devastating impact on the state.

The program, also known as CHIP, covers kids whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don’t have access to affordable coverage. CHIP has been left unfunded in a political stand-off since September.

Kimmel became an advocate when his son, Billy — who had a second heart surgery last week but accompanied him on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on Monday — was born with a heart defect.

“Now CHIP has become a bargaining chip, it’s on the back-burner,” Kimmel said.

Hogan blasted out a letter Tuesday calling for Congress to take immediate bipartisan action to re-authorize CHIP before the end of the year, adding needy kids should never become a political football.

California Sen. Richard Pan echoes Hogan’s sentiments.

“I see so many children who rely on this program,” Pan said.

Hogan says without funding, the entire state would take a major hit with funding for the program expected to run out by April 2018.

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