If Congress does not extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before the end of 2014, it will put more than 12,000 Connecticut children at risk of losing coverage and will jeopardize an estimated $39 to $76 million in federal health care dollars for the next fiscal year. As we describe in our new issue brief on the topic, Congress needs to act soon so that Connecticut can count on these federal monies as it crafts its state budget in early 2015.
CHIP is a health coverage program created by Congress in 1997 to increase the number of children with health insurance nationwide. In CHIP, as in Medicaid, the federal and state governments share the cost of coverage. In Connecticut, CHIP helps to fund health insurance for over 300,000 children under Medicaid (HUSKY A) and Connecticut’s separate Children’s Health Insurance Program (HUSKY B).
HUSKY B offers comprehensive and affordable coverage to many children. In HUSKY B, there are no co-pays for preventive services and some co-payments and coinsurance for certain services. HUSKY has been a good deal for the state and families by providing health coverage for about one out of four Connecticut children. Congress needs to extend funding by the end of 2014 so that Connecticut and other states can count on this funding in their 2015 budgets.
In June, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced S.2461, “CHIP Extension Act of 2014”, which extends CHIP funding through Fiscal Year 2019 and includes other improvements in children’s health coverage. S.2461 currently has no co-sponsors. Just before Congress recessed in July, Representative Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ-6) introduced H.R. 5364, known as the “CHIP Extension and Improvement Act of 2014”, which has 11 co-sponsors, none of whom are from New England. Connecticut’s congressional leaders must continue to set a national example by co-sponsoring S.2461 or H.R. 5364.
Congress shouldn’t put coverage for more than 12,000 Connecticut children and an estimated $39 to $76 million in federal health care dollars at risk.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Congressional representative to publicly support and co-sponsor legislation that extends CHIP funding today. Their contact information is below:
- Senator Richard Blumenthal: (860) 258-6940 (Hartford), (203) 330-0598 (Bridgeport)
- Senator Chris Murphy: (860) 549-8463
- Congressman Joe Courtney: (860) 886-0139 (Norwich), (860) 741-6011 (Enfield)
- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro: (203) 772-2260
- Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty: (203) 699-9621
- Congressman Jim Himes: (866) 453-0028 (Bridgeport), (203) 353-9400 (Stamford)
- Congressman John Larson: (860) 278-8888