Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:
We are writing to urge immediate action on a five-year extension of full funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Community Health Centers (CHCs) program, and the other important public health programs that expire September 30th including Medicare "extenders", the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs (MIECHV), the Special Diabetes Program, National Health Service Corps, Teaching Health Centers, Family to Family Information Centers, and the Health Workforce Demonstration Project for Low-Income Individuals.
These programs are crucial elements of our nation's health care system and we must act now in a bipartisan manner to strengthen and sustain them. If we do not act before September 30th, we will see coverage and access to care reduced or eliminated for millions of families across the country. Disruptions in coverage and service availability will negatively impact children, seniors, new mothers, rural and underserved patients and communities, clinicians, hospitals and health centers.
Both CHIP and Community Health Centers have enjoyed bipartisan support since their inception over 20 and 50 years ago, respectively. CHIP works hand-in-hand with Medicaid to ensure that close to 9 million children have comprehensive, age-appropriate benefits. Community Health Centers provide high-quality primary and preventive care to more than 25 million Americans. An immediate five-year extension of CHIP and Community Health Centers is necessary so states have the budget certainty necessary to continue to run their programs. Without certainty in funding, states will begin to wind-down their CHIP programs and children may be transitioned to more costly forms of coverage or become uninsured altogether. Without certainty in funding for Community Health Centers, more than 2,500 clinics could close, resulting in a loss of over 50,000 jobs and access to care for over nine million patients.
In order to preserve the gains that have been made and strengthen our system of access to primary and preventive care, Congress must act expeditiously to avert this funding cliff. It is critical--for patients, their caregivers and for state and local policymakers--that these programs are put on a stable footing. All of these programs face significant cuts and major coverage disruptions if Congress fails to act before the September 30th funding deadline. We look forward to working with you to expeditiously extend full and stable funding for these programs.