It is Time to Stop Playing Politics, and Fully Fund CHIP.

It has been over 100 days since Congress could not reach an agreement to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The program Congress failed to fund last September helps provide low-cost coverage to 8.9 million children. Since then, states have begun to run out of money to provide services to these children.

 Before the holiday break, Congress allocated $3 billion to help keep CHIP funded until March. This measure helped several states that were on the verge of shutting down the program due to lack of funding.

 Unfortunately, it is déjà vu all over again.

 As of now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which manages CHIP, can only promise funding for all states until January 19th. This lapse in funding will affect 610,000 children from Colorado, Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, and Utah, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In order to stretch the block grant funding for children as far as possible, some states plan to phase out coverage for pregnant women.

 APA understands the importance of quality care and coverage for children and urges lawmakers to fully fund CHIP. It is not only a matter of principle, but also a matter of protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens: our children.

 Funding CHIP benefits not only children, but all Americans. It is estimated that the CHIP program would save the taxpayer $6 billion over the next decade. Along with saving the taxpayer money, it also would keep in business many “safety net” hospitals, which provide care to millions of low-wage and uninsured workers.

 These safety net hospitals rely on CHIP and other programs, including DSH and Medicaid, to keep their doors open. If Congress ultimately fails to fund CHIP, it will impact the families of millions of children, as well as millions of low-income, working-class people across the country.  

 APA’s Passion for People implores us to advocate for Congress to pass a CHIP funding bill. Millions of people rely on this program to keep their children alive. It is time to stop playing politics with children. It is time to fully fund CHIP.