March 25, 2015
The House is expected to vote Thursday to extend federal funding and current policy for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. The program is authorized until 2019, however funding will expire at the end of September 2015. With each week that passes without congressional action, some states are considering contingency plans, such as disenrolling children from the health care program. Here in Pennsylvania, 150,000 children receive quality health care coverage through CHIP. More than 11,000 of those kids reside in Allegheny County. Experts estimate that more than a quarter of the children currently enrolled in CHIP would end up uninsured if the program isn’t funded.
Allies for Children urges Congress to reauthorize and fund CHIP for four years, not just two.
You can help. As constituents who care about our children’s health and our state’s future, we must urge Congress to extend CHIP. People should contact Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, as well as their members of Congress, and let them know that this issue is of critical importance.
Pennsylvania is one of the states with a separate CHIP program, funded substantially by the federal government. If federal funding ends, it would severely impact our program. Analysts have found that an elimination of the program could dramatically impact family finances. In fact, Pennsylvania families (page 141) could expect to pay up to 10 times as much for health care in a non-CHIP plan.
CHIP needs to be funded, and it needs to be funded soon. Our legislators are beginning to debate the budget now. We want to make sure they know they must include state funds to maintain our CHIP program.