Although battles over the budget and tax plan have dominated the narrative of the past weeks, the issue of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, upon which roughly 9 million children depend, remains critical and is not receiving the attention it requires. These children rely on the services of CHIP, ensuring them access to everything from annual check ups to life saving cancer treatments. Congress failed to reauthorize the program before a Sept. 30 deadline and state programs across the country are now without long term funding and at risk of collapsing.
A bipartisan bill has been proposed by Sens. Hatch and Wyden that would extend funding through 2022. The Keeping Kids Insurance Dependable and Secure Act (KIDS) Act of 2017 can help to stem the crisis before millions of vulnerable children lose coverage, but Congress is currently prioritizing other policy initiatives before addressing CHIP. KIDS was first introduced on Sept. 18 and, two months later, it has yet to receive the necessary attention in committee. While Congress persists in pushing a harmful tax plan, CHIP stands unaddressed and millions of children grow ever the more vulnerable. Immediate action is necessary.
The 211th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church clearly outlined our mandate: “The health of children has been the focus of much of the health -related policy development and programming throughout the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This emphasis is an acknowledgment of the need for committed advocacy for children who have little or no opportunity to shape the contexts in which they live, especially if they have chronic health problems or live in poverty.”
Actions Needed: Call (202-225-3121, Capitol Switchboard) to urge your members of Congress to prioritize the reauthorization of CHIP with the passage of the KIDS Act.
Tell them that you stand by the 9 million dependent children across this nation and their families in urging an immediate legislative push for CHIP. Remind them not only of the bipartisan nature of CHIP, but the urgency to address reauthorization ASAP as several states have already announced drastic coverage reduction.
Additional Information & Resources on CHIP