The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will provide health care coverage for more uninsured children from America’s working families thanks to bipartisan legislation that passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 68-31 last night.
“Expanding this health insurance program means more children will have the doctor’s visits and medicines they need when they’re sick and the check-ups they need to stay healthy,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “Since it was created 10 years ago, this program has reduced the number of uninsured children in low-income working families by one-third. Even more, in renewing this legislation, we will provide 3.2 million more low-income children, or one-third more children, with badly needed health care coverage.”
CHIP covers kids whose parents don’t qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford costly private insurance. This is a successful government program that often works with private insurance plans to provide healthcare to some of the most vulnerable children nationwide.
This legislation ensures that the 6.6 million children currently covered by CHIP will keep their health coverage and it will reach another 3.2 million insured children.
“Our children’s lack of health insurance is a liability not just for their health, but for their education, for their families and for our nation’s economic security,” Sen. Carper said. “Our nation’s well-being, our nation’s future depends on the physical and mental well-being of our children.”
Consistent with the 1997 law that created CHIP, this reauthorization bill is funded by a 61 cent increase in the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
This legislation also improves access to mental health services and provides state grants to strengthen dental coverage for children. It encourages states to target low-income children by eliminating childless adult coverage within two years.
“My regret is the President intends to veto this important children’s healthcare bill,” Sen. Carper concluded. “We know uninsured children don’t go to doctors when they need care, and all American children deserve a healthy start in life.”