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CHIP is Vital for Kids: Children's Health Fund Calls on Congress to Ensure Funding

Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program is set to be cut dramatically next year, with dire consequences for the millions of children who rely on CHIP for their health coverage. Children's Health Fund has joined 407 other national and local organizations in calling on our leaders in Washington to take speedy action to fund CHIP for the future.

See the text of the letter below or download the full version.
 

Dear Mr. President, Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

As leading national, state, and local advocates concerned about the health and well-being of America’s children, we are writing to thank you for all of your efforts to protect and improve health coverage for our children and to urge you to take action this year to ensure continued funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Due in no small part to your leadership, today the numbers of uninsured children stand at a record low with 93 percent of children in America enrolled in coverage they can count on. CHIP is a major part of this success story and funding for CHIP is essential if we are to continue this positive coverage trend for children. Congress must act soon to protect and stabilize the CHIP funding stream if this program is to continue to be available for the millions of children who get their coverage through CHIP.

Since its inception in 1997, CHIP has been a vital program for low-income children in working families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase private health insurance. It has helped to cut the numbers of uninsured children by an astounding 50 percent while improving health outcomes and access to care for children and pregnant women across the nation. In FY 2012, more than 8 million children relied on CHIP for their health coverage.

Not only has CHIP been successful for low-income children and families, CHIP has strong bipartisan roots and is popular among governors because it gives states significant flexibility to design their programs to meet the needs of their populations. This unique structure has helped states tackle the costs of uncompensated care while reducing the numbers of uninsured kids. It has been a winner for states and families alike. CHIP’s value is also recognized by the general public, who, in poll after poll, have expressed overwhelming support for protecting CHIP and keeping this program strong.

Your action is needed soon because funding for CHIP is not permanent and is set to be cut dramatically next year. As states are adjusting to a variety of health system changes, it is essential that Congress secure CHIP’s future this year so that states can operate their programs without interruption. According to CBO estimates, inaction by Congress would result in 12.7 million children enrolled in FY 2015 being at risk of losing their CHIPcoverage in 2016. And millions of these children who lose CHIP would have no other coverage option to turn to. The resulting increase in the rate of uninsurance would be an enormous step backwards for children in every state.

Congress must act soon if children are to be protected. Inaction by Congress would mean a total reversal of fortune for the millions of children who use CHIP. As you set your priorities for the coming year we urge you to make the continuation of CHIP an important priority. We know that there are many pressing issues on the congressional agenda. We hope you agree that children’s health must be at the top of the list.