"The American Academy of Pediatrics is disappointed that the legislation currently advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) does not continue the program's strong bipartisan history. While the bill includes sound policy that pediatricians support—extending CHIP for five years, stabilizing enrollment, and preserving current funding levels through 2019—it is paid for in a way that may harm children's health. Specifically, the bill cuts the Prevention and Public Health Fund, makes risky changes to Medicaid financing and puts in place new barriers for families to access affordable health care coverage in the private marketplace.
"CHIP funding expired one month ago. The nearly 9 million children who rely on the program, along with their families, have been forced to face an uncertain future as they hear conflicting reports of what this inaction means for them. These families do not follow the latest policy developments and they do not care about process. They simply want to know that they can continue to access reliable, affordable health care coverage for their children. Because of congressional inaction, they have not had that peace of mind.
"CHIP has been celebrated as a bipartisan success story since its very beginning 20 years ago. The program enjoys widespread support among both chambers and both political parties, and most importantly, it works for the children it serves. Like CHIP, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program also ran out of funding on Sept. 30. Like CHIP, home visiting is also a bipartisan program. And like CHIP, its bipartisan success is being needlessly jeopardized. These programs are too important for the children and families they serve to be caught up in politics.
"It is past time that members of Congress come together to do what is right for children and families and extend CHIP funding for five years, without jeopardizing other important child health policies in the process."
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.