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After Missed Deadline, Campaign for Children Urges Immediate Congressional Action on CHIPHealth
WASHINGTON—The First Focus Campaign for Children welcomes today’s passage through the Senate Finance Committee of the KIDS Act of 2017 (S.1827), which includes a five- year extension of funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We are also pleased the House is marking up the HEALTHY KIDS Act of 2017 (H.R. 3921), which includes a similar five-year CHIP extension and other key provisions such as a guarantee of affordability standards and extensions of outreach and enrollment grants, pediatric quality measures, and Express Lane Eligibility that will help millions of children access high-quality care.
The two bills also sunset a provision in the 2015 extension of CHIP that resulted in $1 billion being stripped out of the program as of September 30, 2017, so that they will not happen again in the future.
We are concerned, however, about offsets in the House bill that would harm other critical programs benefitting American children and families. We urge Congress to identify offsets for the HEALTHY KIDS Act that reflect the bipartisan nature of CHIP and which do not hurt other safety net programs.
First Focus Campaign for Children Bruce Lesley said:
“Congress must get this done quickly and with great urgency. We’re encouraged by the action in the House and Senate on the five-year extension of CHIP, but urge members to make sure the final legislation doesn’t pay for CHIP by taking funds away from other vital programs that benefit kids.
After missing the deadline, Congress has left millions of American families in limbo, worrying about their children’s health coverage.
Congress’ failure to act before the deadline means states have to send disenrollment notices to struggling families and figure out ways to stretch their remaining federal dollars as long as possible. Some may be able to keep kids covered a few months, while others only have a few weeks.
Congress has a strong agreement on the policy to extend CHIP for five years and must act soon. Time is of the essence.”
Created in 1997, CHIP, along with Medicaid, has helped reduce the number of uninsured American children by a remarkable 68 percent, with more than 95 percent of all kids in the U.S. currently enrolled in some form of insurance coverage. CHIP covers nearly 9 million low-income American children and 370,000 pregnant women.
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- Bruce Lesley: Nine Million Reasons to Extend CHIP Funding Now