Brown Administration Calls for Extension of Successful Children’s Health Insurance Program

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2014
For More Information Contact:
Kelly Hardy, 510-763-2444 x126, khardy@childrennow.org Kristen Golden Testa, 415-505-1332, ktesta@childrenspartnership.org

Secretary of Health and Human Services Dooley Urges Congress to Act Now to Protect CHIP

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – Children’s health advocates in California are praising the Brown Administration for joining the call on Congress to take quick action to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expires in September 2015. In a letter dated October 30th, California Secretary of Health and Human Services Diana Dooley on behalf of the Brown Administration responded to an inquiry from Congressional leaders about the importance of CHIP by “strongly encourage[ing] Congress to act early and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

Specifically, the letter notes that “Renewal of federal CHIP funding is extraordinarily important to California’s fiscal stability and the ability to continue to offer cost-effective, affordable coverage for children and pregnant women….The loss of such funding would put gains in children and infants’ health coverage at risk.”

CHIP is a critical program that supports Medi-Cal coverage for families and pregnant women and ensures kids throughout California have access to comprehensive, quality health coverage they need. Together CHIP and Medi-Cal have cut the rate of uninsured children in California by half in ten years—from 10.3 percent in 2001 to 5.1 percent in 2011.

On behalf of the California Children’s Health Coverage Coalition, Pete Manzo, President of United Ways of California said, “We applaud Governor Brown, Secretary Dooley, and Medi-Cal Director Toby Douglas, for letting Congress know the value California holds in continuing the federal investment in the important Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We hope Congress responds by quickly fully funding CHIP for four years.

"For sixteen years, CHIP has been a lifeline for California's working families, giving children access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage.  CHIP, along with Medicaid, has brought health coverage rates for children to a historic high," added Alex Johnson, Executive Director of Children's Defense Fund-California. "Unfortunately, unless Congress takes action quickly, there will be no new federal funding for CHIP after next September, jeopardizing the health of millions of children in California and across the nation.”

“CHIP helps children stay healthy so they can succeed in school and keeps coverage affordable for families, protecting them from the financial instability caused by unexpected medical bills,” said Suzie Shupe, Executive Director of California Coverage & Health Initiatives. “This is not the time to mess with success, and we cannot afford to lose ground in our efforts to get all California kids covered.”

Kelly Hardy, Senior Director of Health Policy at Children Now said, “Renewal of CHIP funding is also critical to California’s financial health – if Congress does not act, California would lose well over $500 million in federal funds in 2016 alone. For better fiscal certainty so that California can meet the health care needs of our kids, we hope Congress hears this loud, and growing, urgent call to extend funding for CHIP now and not wait to address funding right before the funds run out.”

“By renewing funding for this proven, bipartisan program we can continue to provide California’s kids with the coverage and quality care they need to succeed in school and in life,” added Wendy Lazarus, Co-President and Founder of The Children’s Partnership.

The October 30th letter on CHIP from the Brown Administration is available at http://bit.ly/1uW9luf. A one-page factsheet on CHIP renewal from the California Children’s Health Coverage Coalition is available at http://bit.ly/1suyc1x.

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The Children’s Health Coverage Coalition is comprised of California Coverage & Health Initiatives, Children Now, Children’s Defense Fund-California, PICO California, The Children’s Partnership, and United Ways of California. Follow the Coalition on Twitter or tumblr @KidsHealthCA.