“We are at a pivotal moment for children’s health. After failing to extend
funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before its
expiration on Sept. 30, Congress now has an opportunity—and indeed a charge—to
act in children’s best interest and immediately pass the Keep Kids’ Insurance
Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017.
“The KIDS Act would extend CHIP funding for five years while keeping the
program operating as it does currently, allowing CHIP to continue providing
affordable, comprehensive health care coverage to nine million children
nationwide. As efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act dominated the agenda
in the Senate, needed attention to CHIP was lost, even though the KIDS Act of
2017 has bipartisan cosponsors and CHIP enjoys widespread support among both
chambers and both political parties
“There is no disagreement among members of Congress that CHIP is a vital
program for children that needs to be funded. The problem, which we often see
in advocating for children’s issues, is one of benign neglect – assuming,
wrongly, that states can continue without renewed funding right away –
assuming, dangerously, that members of Congress will eventually come together
to do the right thing but not making an urgent plan to ensure it’s so.
“Several states have already announced they will shut down CHIP because they
have no funding left to run it, leaving families facing an uncertain future and
causing children’s access to the program to depend on where they live.
“When it comes to extending CHIP funding, the American Academy of Pediatrics
urges our 66,000 pediatrician, pediatric subspecialist and pediatric surgical
specialist members not to tolerate support without action.
“Congress must pass the KIDS Act of 2017 not next week, not next month, but
today. Right now. Children and families need to know that they can continue
counting on a program essential to their health and lives. Members of the
American Academy of Pediatrics will continue to demand that of our elected
leaders until we see real progress.”
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric
medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the
health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young
adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org
and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.