Dear Speaker Boehner, Democratic Leader Pelosi, Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone:
As the House and Committee considers the extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program, we write as the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues to express our continued support for this vital program.
As you know, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997 with strong bipartisan support, and has since helped bring the number of uninsured children in our country to a record low. CHIP meets our states' needs by allowing flexibility to uniquely target child populations within the state and provide the specialists and services that children need. CHIP has proven to be a cost-effective program that successfully provides affordable, accessible health insurance for children in our communities. If CHIP funding is not extended for 2016, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office reports approximately 2 million children will immediately lose access to affordable healthcare.
Since 1977, the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues has been a source of bipartisan cooperation among women Members, as we have worked together to address important issues facing women and families. Because CHIP covers over 8 million children and pregnant women in the country, it is the interest of our Caucus to see CHIP funding extended. Extension of funding should occur in a timely and transparent manner, well before the expiration of federal funding on October 1, 2015. We believe this program serves the needs of our constituents and our county by providing children the means to receive care when they are sick, as well as access to preventative care to ensure a healthy childhood.
Congress must act on CHIP extension legislation now to ensure that States have the ability to plan for fiscal year 2016. Parents also plan their family budgets and doctor visits in advance; they must have a clear indication from Congress that the CHIP program will continue to provide access to care for their children.
Thank you for your consideration as you work to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. If you have any questions regarding the letter or if the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our respective offices.