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November 8, 2017
Congress failed to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before it expired on September 30. This missed deadline has real implications for children and families in California and across the country. CDF and other advocates are urging Congress to act immediately to pass a strong, five-year extension of CHIP funding that protects children and families without harmful offsets.
Almost two million children in California have Medi-Cal health coverage funded through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides affordable, comprehensive, child-appropriate coverage to low income children and pregnant women in largely working families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but who would be unable to afford private insurance. Created twenty years ago with bipartisan support, CHIP has been a national success story, helping almost 9 million children nationally survive and thrive. Despite continued bipartisan support, Congress failed to act in a timely way to extend CHIP funding, which ended on September 30. California, along with other states, is expected to run out of existing funds by the end of the year. In October, both the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced strong funding bills that would extend CHIP funding for five years. Unfortunately, they have stalled due to lack of bipartisan agreement over how to pay for it. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a highly partisan CHIP funding bill largely along party lines that contained the strong policy CDF-CA has supported, but paid for it by cutting funds that are important to the health of children and families.
Action is needed now! We owe it to our nation's children to move forward quickly to pass a strong, five-year extension of CHIP funding that protects children and families without harmful offsets. As Marian Wright Edelman wrote in her recent letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, "It makes no sense to hold up critical programs like CHIP over partisan squabbles, particularly when we are on the way to spending $1.5 trillion on tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations without offsets."