Statement of Stacey D. Stewart, President, March of Dimes on the Need to Extend Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program

WASHINGTON | Monday, October 2, 2017

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The March of Dimes released the following statement from President Stacey D. Stewart regarding Congress’ failure to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding for which officially expired on September 30:

The March of Dimes is profoundly troubled that Congress has allowed CHIP funding to expire, leaving the 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women served by the program uncertain of its future.  Elected officials have known for two years that CHIP funding would end on September 30, and yet they have failed to take the actions necessary to protect millions of children and pregnant women in need.

For pregnant women served by CHIP, a lapse in funding could easily mean that coverage disappears when they need it most.  Nineteen states extend CHIP coverage to qualified pregnant women.  Programs in states like Minnesota have warned that they may be forced to end coverage for pregnant women if funding is not reinstated immediately.  Nationwide, even a short break in CHIP funding could mean that thousands of pregnant women lose coverage at their time of delivery or as they experience critical complications of pregnancy.  It is the height of irresponsibility for Congress to postpone the extension of CHIP coverage, potentially endangering pregnant women and their babies. 

“The March of Dimes urges Members of Congress in the strongest possible terms to immediately pass the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017 to provide a straightforward extension of CHIP funding for five years.  Any further delay forces innocent children and pregnant women to bear the unfortunate consequences of Congressional inaction.”

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About March of Dimes

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit peristats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.