ALERT: CHIP Funding Expired 34 Days Ago

Written by: Erin Miller
Date Posted: November 3, 2017

It’s been 34 days since federal financing for the Children’s Health Insurance Program expired. Colorado has sufficient remaining funds to continue the program through the end of January 2018, at which point the 90,000 kids and pregnant women who use CHIP (or CHP+ in Colorado)  for their health insurance each year will lose their insurance coverage and have to try to find new ways to access health care. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has updated their website about the future of the CHP+ program in Colorado and the site now has information for families, providers and advocates.

Bills in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House would reauthorize the program for five years and maintain current funding levels for the program for two years before stepping the funding levels down to pre-Affordable Care Act levels. While the Senate bill has bipartisan support, the House bill includes concerning cuts to Medicaid and prevention and public health. The cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund would strip tens of millions of dollars from public health and prevention programs in Colorado. These funds support lead poisoning prevention, smoking cessation and breastfeeding support in our communities. The House bill passed out of the full House of Representatives along a largely party-line Republican vote this morning.

The Colorado Children’s Campaign has been convening the Colorado CHIP Coalition this fall to advocate for a five-year reauthorization of the CHIP program. Roughly 75 organizational members of the Colorado CHIP Coalition range from health plans to provider groups to consumer advocates. The coalition has had conversations with our federal delegation, submitted comments to federal health committees committee mark-ups, supported media outreach and encouraged more than 2,000 actions to be taken by Coloradans urging our federal delegation to act swiftly to refinance the CHIP program.

Before funding for the program expired, the Colorado CHIP Coalition sent a letter to Colorado’s federal delegation urging swift bipartisan action to reauthorize CHIP. Sen. Michael Bennet asked that the letter be entered into the record during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. Both Colorado senators are sponsoring the bipartisan Senate legislation to reauthorize the program for five years. Coalition op-eds have been placed in news outlets across the state including in The Greely Tribune  and Colorado Community Media, which cover multiple newspapers along the west, north and south sides of the Denver metro area. A member of the coalition was featured on the local news on CBS and Fox. We have also been working with the Colorado Joint Budget Committee to highlight this issue. Join our fight to save CHIP! To learn more, visit this website, and to join our coalition, email Sarah Barnes at sarahb@coloradokids.org.

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin serves as the Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to improve health insurance coverage and quality for Colorado’s kids, improve access to health services, and ensure that every child has healthy places to live, learn, and play. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2015, Erin worked on the Accountable Care Collaborative team at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. She has extensive experience evaluating federal, state, and local policies related to Medicaid, CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, and public health programs as well as working with legislators, policymakers, constituents, and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Her professional experiences range from serving as a WIC Educator and Local Area Retail Coordinator for Denver Health to serving as a Special Assistant in the HHS Office of Planning and Evaluation in Washington DC and as a Health Policy Adviser and Budget Analyst for the U.S. House Budget Committee.