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AAP Statement on Senate Failure to Extend CHIP Funding by Deadline

10/2/2017 by: Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, CEO/Executive Vice President, American Academy of Pediatrics

​“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.”

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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.