On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider a bill to extend funding for CHIP and other vital programs like community health centers.
This is an opportunity to weigh in on the importance of your state CHIP program and ask legislators to make the program’s refunding a priority.
Call for Letters in Support of CHIP
Dear Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Pallone,
As an organization dedicated to ensuring access to high-quality health care for children, we urge you to quickly pass legislation extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Urgent action is necessary to provide certainty for families and state budgets.
CHIP is critical to the health of nearly 9 million children—and together with Medicaid—has helped us reach a historic 95.5% insured rate for children nationally. In Florida, CHIP covers 374,884 children and has contributed to an insured rate of 93%.
As you know, federal funding for CHIP expired on September 30. In July, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) estimated that four states including the District of Columbia would run out of funds by December. However, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study estimated that at least ten states would run out by the end of this year. Minnesota’s Department of Human Services released its own analysis showing that it will run out of funds in September rather than later in the year as noted in earlier reports.
In Florida, we expect to exhaust CHIP funds by March 2018. Without Congress’s swift action, we face great uncertainty and would need to begin winding down the program leaving children without access to needed health care.
CHIP is vital to the health of Florida’s children because it gives them access to the health services they need and deserve. Children are not little adults and have their own unique set of health care needs. CHIP ensures those needs are met by providing a benefit package that is age appropriate and delivered by a network of pediatric providers. These benefits include access to preventive care.
Ensuring that children have access to preventive care is good practice, which makes sure that we get children on a lifelong pathway of good health. Research shows that investing in children now is an investment in our future. Healthy children are ready to learn and succeed, growing into productive community members. CHIP is an important tool in that all children have an equitable opportunity to become healthy, productive members of our communities.
Finally, as Medicaid and CHIP work together to keep kids healthy they also shield families from medical debt and from having to make choices between rent, food and prescriptions.
We urge you to quickly pass a clean extension of CHIP and continue the bipartisan commitment to this successful program. Like MACPAC and the National Governors Association, we encourage the committee to provide a five-year extension of funding at the current enhanced match.
We further urge you to address funding for other important health programs—like community health centers and Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting services—whose funding also expired on September 30.