Update (12/22/17): Congress has passed a temporary budget that only extends CHIP through March, leaving long-term funding up in the air.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program that annually insures nearly 9 million children (and, in some states, pregnant women) whose families’ incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid. Congress allowed the federal funding for CHIP to expire on September 30th. Now, if Congress does not pass a bill renewing CHIP’s funding immediately, states will exhaust their federal CHIP money as early as December of this year, endangering millions of children’s healthcare access.
The House is considering a bill, HR 3922, that would renew funding for both CHIP and community health centers (whose federal funding also expired on 9/30), but pay for the programs by cutting 75% of funding for the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. Slashing this crucial funding, as former Centers for Disease Control & Prevention director Tom Frieden has noted, will put Americans “at greater risk from vaccine-preventable disease, food-borne infections, and deadly infections contracted in hospitals.” The bill will also fund CHIP by reducing others’ health insurance access. It would reduce individual insurance market consumers’ grace period to pay their premiums before losing insurance from three months to one, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will lead to 500,000 losing health insurance coverage. HR 3922 would also eliminate the safety net coverage that Medicaid and CHIP provide for pregnant women and children while they are actively seeking another source of health insurance coverage.
The Senate has yet to agree on a bipartisan funding source for CHIP reauthorization, meaning they could sign off HR 3922’s highly partisan funding provisions. It is unacceptable to use CHIP funding as a bargaining tool to win partisan victories, cut critical public health initiatives, and undermine popular aspects of the ACA.
CALL: BLUNT (417) 877-7814
AND MCCASKILL (417) 868-8745
SCRIPT (5 calls)
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from Springfield.
I’m calling to urge Senator ________________ to advocate for a bipartisan approach to the immediate renewal of CHIP funding and oppose the House-passed funding bill, HR 3922. Millions of children rely on this funding for insurance, and its reauthorization should not be used to score partisan victories like massive cuts to the ACA Prevention and Public Health Fund.
Thank you so much for your time.
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