Advocates Support Senate Children’s Health Insurance Program Bill
Washington – The First Focus Campaign for Children, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, reacted to today’s introduction by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and more than two dozen other senators to extend funding for the bipartisan federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bill would extend federal CHIP funding for four years. Unless Congress acts first, CHIP funding will end on October 1, 2015.
CHIP is a bipartisan success story, created by a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democratic president in 1997. The initiative offers state governments flexibility to deliver coverage through private health insurance companies using programs tailored to the needs of children in each state. It is credited in large part for the 50 percent reduction in the rate of uninsurance among children since the late 1990s and a child uninsured rate lower today than before the recession.
CHIP provides health care for eight million children. If CHIP funding is not extended, millions of those children will become uninsured, others will be added to states’ Medicaid rolls or get coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “Marketplaces.” A study released last year shows that CHIP offers more coverage of child-specific care than Marketplace plans, with dramatically lower out-of-pocket costs.
Last month, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch listed extending CHIP funding as a must-pass for the committee. Citing support from Republican and Democratic governors, Hatch expressed his expectation that the effort to extend CHIP funding will have bipartisan, bicameral support.
“CHIP protects children’s health and families’ economic security every day, and we thank Senator Brown for standing up for CHIP and children’s health. With strong support on both sides of the aisle, there’s no reason to wait – Congress should extend CHIP funding before the March recess.”
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.