Bipartisan CHIPPER Act offers strong solution
As the economic toll of COVID-19 robs American families of their jobs and the health insurance that comes with them, lawmakers must act decisively to protect children’s coverage.
We strongly support the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program Pandemic Enhancement and Relief (CHIPPER) Act, which will suspend the scheduled drop in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) E-FMAP of 11.5 percentage points in the coming fiscal year. With more than 6 million children projected to lose their health insurance, now is not the time to cut federal support for states providing coverage by billions of dollars.
“Congress missed the opportunity to include this critical suspension in the $3 trillion coronavirus relief package unveiled Tuesday,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “But we are gratified that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are coming together to get the job done one way or another.”
The bill is sponsored by Pennsylvania Reps. Susan Wild, a Democrat, and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican. It has 46 co-sponsors.
CHIP has demonstrated two decades of success, cutting the children’s uninsured rate to just 4.5% in FY 2016. Since then, however, misguided policies have pushed children off the rolls and sent the number of uninsured toward 6%. The dual public health and economic crises of the pandemic ensure it will go higher still.
This CHIPPER bill supports CHIP at a critical time. In addition to the direct impact of COVID-19, which causes a rare inflammatory disease in children, efforts to curb the virus and its economic fallout have delayed treatment for underlying conditions and developmental appointments, increased stress and the need for mental health treatment, postponed immunizations, increased child hunger, and spiked incidents of child abuse and maltreatment.
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