Congress fails to make progress on CHIP

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: October 13, 2017

Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has allowed 8.9 million kids nationally to access quality affordable health care, has run out. Congress has a bipartisan plan to save the program. But every day they wait to act, states are forced closer to cutting kids from the program. Some states may need to start ending coverage as soon as next month.

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In Colorado, about 90,000 kids and pregnant women use CHIP to access quality, affordable health care. Congress has a bipartisan solution to keep the funding going, but it must act in order to make it a reality. Last week, bills passed out of the committees of jurisdiction in both chambers. The Senate bill to protect CHIP passed out of the Senate Finance Committee without dissent. The House bill included partisan offsets, including a policy that could reduce access to high-value Medicaid services such as pediatric preventive care and care for pregnant women. The House bill passed out of the Energy and Commerce committee with Republican votes only. This week, only the House was in session and no further progress was made on CHIP. The Senate will be in session next week (while the House is in recess) and we hope that the Senate moves their bill to the floor for a full vote next week. This update from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families provides additional details on likely Congressional next steps. Unless Congress acts, kids and pregnant women in Colorado will begin losing their health care in just three months, at the end of January. Colorado families should not get insurance cancellation notices for the holidays.

You can read a Denver Post editorial on the CHIP program here – and watch news clips about the importance of the program to one Colorado family here and here.

Please take a few minutes this week to call your U.S. Senators and Representatives to register your stand for kids and pregnant women. Tell them you believe the bipartisan solution to extend CHIP is right for Colorado and right for our country. Time is running out and your call can make a difference today.

Additional talking points for you to use when contacting your Senators and Representatives:

  • Congress needs to act on the bipartisan plan to extend funding for CHIP for five years. It’s a fair compromise that protects kids and pregnant women.
  • Congress should pass the policy proposals that have been put forth in both chambers, with bipartisan offsets.
  • Extending funding for CHIP for five years will help ensure stable coverage for working families and greater budget certainty for states.
  • Maintaining funding for the CHIP program is crucial to protecting Colorado’s budget.
  • 90,000 children and pregnant women from working families in Colorado use CHIP for their health insurance every year.
  • Children with chronic conditions deserve certainty in their medical coverage. And pregnant women should not be forced to scramble for a new doctor mid-pregnancy. Ending a successful program, with little warning, denies children the healthy start they need.
  • Kids with health coverage are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely to graduate from college, and have higher incomes as adults.

Contact Information for Colorado’s U. S. Senators

Senator Michael Bennet

Local office (303) 455-7600 National office (202) 224-5852

Senator Cory Gardner

Local office (303) 391-5777 National office (202) 224-5941

Contact Information for Colorado’s U.S. Representatives

Representative Coffman

Call if you live in Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Brighton

Local office (720) 748-7514 National office (202) 225-7882

Representative Tipton

Call if you live in Grand Junction, Durango, Pueblo, Gunnison

Local office (970) 259-1490 National office (202) 225-4761

Representative Buck

Call if you live in Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Brush, Burlington, Fort Morgan, Stratton, Julesburg, Holyoke

Local office (970) 702-2136 National office (202) 225-4676

Representative Lamborn

Call if you live in Salida, Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, Monument, Fountain, Canyon City, Woodland Park

Local office (719) 520-0055 National office (202) 225-4422

Representative Polis

Call if you live in Lafayette, Niwot, Boulder, Fort Collins, Lyons, Loveland, Granby, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Kremmling

Local office (303) 484-9596 National office (202) 225-2161

Representative Perlmutter

Call if you live in Lakewood, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn

Local office (303)274-7944 National office (202) 225-2645

Representative DeGette

Call if you live in Denver

Local office (303) 844-4988 National office (202) 225-4431

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.