By: Kelly Wolfe, public policy director at Children’s Minnesota
Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired at the end of September. Congress has done little to fix this problem, despite the fact that more than 6 million of our nation’s children are covered by this critical program and states will run out of funding soon. In Minnesota, CHIP covers more than 127,000 infants and children and approximately 1,700 pregnant women. Without quick congressional action, our patients and their families are at risk.
There is bipartisan support for CHIP, and lawmakers in both the U.S. House and Senate agree that the program and many of its critical elements should be extended for five years — however, there is still no long term agreement between the House and the Senate. The House did pass a bill, yet disagreements over how to pay for the program have created a gridlock with the Senate.
That’s why Children’s Minnesota is urging our U.S. senators and representatives to protect children and extend CHIP funding immediately. Children’s health shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
Thursday, Nov. 30: Day of Action
If you would like to make your voice heard about the importance of CHIP and the children we serve at Children’s, there is a day of action planned for today, Thursday, Nov. 30. There are several ways to reach out to your U.S. representative and senators.
- Call your U.S. senators. Phone calls are an effective means for advocating to U.S. senators. Each call is logged, and the net effect is for senators to appreciate that their constituents feel strongly about protecting CHIP for children. You can find the phone numbers of Senator Franken and Klobuchar here. Thank them for protecting and supporting CHIP and encourage them to find an immediate solution.
- Call your U.S. representative. Urge them to find an immediate solution and ask them to work with the Senate on a long-term funding plan that puts the needs of children and their families first. You can find their numbers here.
- Send electronic letters to your U.S. senators and representative. Visit the Speak Now for Kids website, enter your information and send the pre-written letter. You also can personalize the letter to share facts about CHIP in our state and why protecting CHIP is important to you.
- Post to social media. Use social media to share why CHIP matters to you, our hospitals and our patients. Include the hashtags #ExtendCHIP and #KeepKidsCovered in all social media posts/tweets. Together, we will continue making a difference for all children.