September 18, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy
The California Medical Association (CMA) is urging Congress to reauthorize the successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Although the 20-year-old program has historically had bipartisan support, there has been some concern that the CHIP reauthorization could get caught up in the partisan bickering surrounding other priority issues, including attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMA has urged Congress to reauthorize the program for at least five years at current funding levels to give states the stability to engage in long-term planning and innovation.
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee last week agreed to a five-year funding extension for CHIP. The proposal would also maintain the ACA’s 23 percent increase in the federal matching rate to states for 2018 and 2019.
In California, the CHIP program currently serves 5.6 million children. Since its inception, it has successfully provided children of low-income, working families access to physicians so they have a chance to grow up healthy and thrive. It provides access to comprehensive coverage, mental health services and essential preventive services, such as immunizations and developmental screenings, to prevent more serious illnesses and disease.
“Your swift action is essential to continuing this important, cost-effective program,” CMA President Ruth Haskins, M.D., wrote in a letter to the California Congressional Delegation. “The health of California’s children depends on your immediate action.”