Coalition Pushes for CHIP ReauthorizationMatt Boster
Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Sep 26 2017 8:36 AM
MONTGOMERY – The Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, state lawmakers and a number of organizations advocating for children’s health care are petitioning the Alabama Congressional Delegation to support reauthorization of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding bill before the Sept. 30 deadline.
In a letter to the Alabama Congressional Delegation outlining support for the Hatch-Wyden bill, Keeping Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS), bipartisan legislation ensures stability for vulnerable children by extending funding for the CHIP for five years. The bill also provides additional protections for low-income children and increases flexibility for states.
“Together with Medicaid, CHIP has helped reduce the numbers of uninsured children by a remarkable 68 percent. Now is the time for Congress to stabilize the CHIP funding stream and protect the gains in children’s health coverage that have resulted in more than 95 percent of all children in America being enrolled in some form of insurance coverage,” according to the Coalition.
Currently in Alabama, there are 157,000 children covered by CHIP, known as ALL Kids. State budgets for 2018 are already set, so changes to CHIP’s structure – including changes to the Maintenance of Effort or the enhanced CHIP matching rate – would cause significant disruption in children’s coverage and leave states with critical shortfalls in their budgets.
The coalition cited the great strides made possible through CHIP in ensuring children have access to the care they need. Any reductions in federal CHIP funding could cause problems for not only Alabama’s ALL Kids program but also children enrolled in Alabama Medicaid.
CHIP is a bipartisan success story created in 1997 and has been championed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle since its very beginning. CHIP offers benefits that are age-appropriate, including dental coverage and mental health and substance abuse services, which may not be covered by a family’s employer-sponsored insurance. CHIP plans include networks of pediatricians, pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists, and children’s hospitals, which are especially critical for children with special health care needs.
Click here to see the letter. For more information, please contact:
· Lori M. Quiller, APR, director of communications for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, at (334) 954-2580; or
· Linda Lee, executive director of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, at (334) 954-2543.