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United Way Applauds Congressional Movement on the Extension of CHIP

Action is needed now to ensure continuity in health coverage for low-income children and pregnant moms

In recent days, Congress has responded to requests from governors, providers, advocates, and families alike by introducing legislation and publishing a discussion draft to quickly extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While CHIP exists in law through FY2019, funding for Chip will end September 31, 2015 unless Congress acts.  If Congress fails to act now, upwards of 2 million children and pregnant mothers could lose their health insurance, and millions more could be shifted to plans with less appropriate benefits at higher costs to them as well as the taxpayer.

United Way is pleased that both Republicans and Democrats understand the need to extend funding for CHIP.  And while we call on Congress to extend funding under current law at least through the end of its FY2019 authorization, we stand ready to work with both parties to come to a bipartisan agreement in the spirit in which CHIP was created and reflecting the broad support it continues to enjoy today.

United Way’s overriding principle for continued funding is this: Protect the gains made by CHIP since inception, and ensure that no child is worse off.

Since its bipartisan inception in 1997, CHIP has successfully cut in half the percentage of uninsured kids. And unlike the vast majority of health insurance plans found in the marketplace, CHIP provides specific services that children need in order to grow healthy and ready to learn.

We applaud the fact that Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate have proposed legislation as a starting point for negotiations to extend CHIP funding.  United Way remains committed to working with all parties on an extension of the program to best serve these vulnerable children and their hard-working families.

Please ask your Members of Congress to extend funding for CHIP today!