The following is a joint statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund, Children’s Dental Health Project, Children’s Hospital Association, Family Voices, First Focus Campaign for Children, March of Dimes and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners:
“Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) ran out on September 30th. There is a bipartisan agreement to renew CHIP for five years that both chambers of Congress support, and yet the CHIP funding extension included in the U.S. House of Representatives spending bill introduced today falls far short of that agreement.
“States have already started to notify families that they may not have a source of coverage should Congress fail to enact a long-term extension of CHIP funding, and several states have started to use funds meant to operate the program to start shutting it down. The short-term CHIP funding included in the House spending bill is not enough to prevent states from continuing these actions, and only causes more chaos and confusion on the ground.
“What states and families need is stability. Instead, what they get from the House measure is a continuation of a dangerous trend: temporary, inadequate CHIP funding patches, delivered at the last possible moment with no comprehensive relief or assurance.
“Congress’ failure to extend CHIP funding long-term has resulted in a manufactured emergency that has real consequences for children, families and pregnant women. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is bipartisan policy ready to be passed right now to extend CHIP funding for five years. Both chambers of Congress support it; the only thing preventing it from passing is political will. Congress must take the opportunity to pass a five-year CHIP funding extension on a bill this week to fund the federal government.
“Right now, the greatest threat to children’s health care coverage is congressional inaction.”