We need to act now to protect children's health.
This week, the Senate will vote on bipartisan legislation to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance to over 8 million children. The number of uninsured children has dropped by more than 50% since CHIP's bipartisan beginning 17 years ago.
There are many important reasons to keep CHIP strong:
- Benefits: CHIP plans are designed for children and provide more comprehensive benefit packages than most Marketplace plans.
- Networks: Because CHIP plans are for children, they have larger provider networks than Marketplace plans, including access to specialists that are important for the sickest kids.
- Affordability: CHIP plans keep out-of-pocket costs down for low-income families.
- "Family-Glitch": Up to 2 million children could lose their insurance coverage because they have a parent who receives employer-based insurance and cannot qualify for financial subsidies in the Marketplace
The Affordable Care Act reauthorized CHIP through 2019, but funding for the program will run out onSeptember 30, 2015 unless Congress acts.
In March, the House of Representatives passed H.R.2, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, by a wide margin of 392-37 - an impressive display of bipartisanism. H.R.2 repeals the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and extends funding for CHIP through 2017. Now it must pass the Senate.
Thank you for all you do to advocate for patients.
Matthew Molloy, MPH
Maryland State Director