Celebrating the Importance of the Children’s Health Insurance Program on its 20th Birthday!

The summer months are special to children for many reasons, and this summer is no different. As mercury levels are at their peak, we celebrate the anniversaries of two very important programs that have had a lasting positive impact on millions of children. In July we celebrated the 52nd birthday of Medicaid, and this month we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid and CHIP combined provide health insurance coverage to over 36 million children in the United States.

CHIP will officially turn the big 2-0 on Saturday, Aug. 5. Since its enactment, CHIP, along with Medicaid, has helped shrink the number of uninsured children by a whopping 68 percent. CHIP’s funding is set to expire in less than two months, and all the progress that has been made may come undone if Congress doesn’t act soon.

For CHIP, federal matching funds are sent to states to provide health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but without access to private insurance. CHIP has helped ensure that approximately 95 percent of children in the United States have access to quality medical and dental care.

Unfortunately, if Congress does not act to extend CHIP’s funding, many states will begin to run out of resources critical to continuing their CHIP programs. This, in turn, may lead to enrollment freezes that lock out children seeking to apply for CHIP, benefit cuts, or an end to CHIP altogether.

Join Children’s Hospital Association and other children’s advocacy organizations in calling for swift action to extend funding for CHIP. The time is now to reach out to your members of Congress to remind them about CHIP’s importance.

Remember, a secure future starts with access to affordable health care for all of our children.

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