Education News

#SaveCHIP: These U.S. Senators are fighting for students’ health coverage

By Amanda Litvinov

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Republican leaders in Congress have said that renewing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is on their radar—but they have yet to take the lead on restoring federal funding for the popular bipartisan program that covers more than 9 million children and more than 350,000 pregnant women.

CHIP expired more than 100 days ago on Sept. 30.

Last month, Sen. Orrin Hatch—who helped write the bill that established CHIP—was challenged by Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who asked why Congress was about to pass massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy while the Children’s Health Insurance Program was running on fumes.

Hatch responded: “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is we don’t have any money anymore.” His words irked many of his colleagues, who expected more of the chair of the Senate tax writing committee.

It does not take a math teacher to figure this out. The G.O.P.’s $1.5 trillion tax cut package, weighted toward the wealthy and big corporations and signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 22, will only make it harder to restore funding for critical programs like CHIP, or federal education programs such as the Individuals with Disabilities Act, the Secure Rural Schools Act, and Title I.

Congress must pass a spending bill before Jan. 19 to avert a government shutdown. Children’s health and education advocates, from the American Association of Pediatrics to educator unions, are calling for an immediate five-year renewal of CHIP that is not tied to cuts to other programs or negotiations around other policy issues.

Even the short-term funding fix that was supposed to ensure CHIP would remain funded through March is faulty. Ten states—Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Washington—plus the District of Columbia, will likely run out of CHIP funds before the end of February, according to a new report from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.

Some states have already notified families that they could soon lose health coverage for their children. Others states will continue to fund CHIP on their own and make cuts elsewhere—like education budgets—in order to make up for the loss of federal funds.

Sen. Brown is one of a handful of senators who have been particularly vocal about the urgent need to restore federal funding for CHIP. Give these senators a hat tip by sharing their social media content (you can click on the date stamp of any post or tweet to do so).

Most important of all: Tell your members of Congress to restore federal funding for CHIP.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin

Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio

 

Sen. Bob Casey, Pennsylvania

 

Sen. Joe Donnelly, Indiana


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota

Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan

Sen. Jon Tester, Montana

 

One response to “#SaveCHIP: These U.S. Senators are fighting for students’ health coverage

  1. I was involved in promoting the NJ chip program known as kid care the need to fund this program is urgent This wil be devistating for our children .i know that our children deserve to have a program that meets their medical needs.

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