That’s how many days have passed since funding ran out for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has allowed 8.9 million kids and pregnant women nationally to access quality affordable health care. Congress’s momentary failure has turned into a moral outrage.
In Colorado, 90,000 working families use the program to cover their kids at some point during the year. These families make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford coverage on the private market or through their employer plans. Colorado families, and many families across our nation, have been warned that their health insurance might soon end.
Unable to do the right thing for our children, Congress has cobbled together patchwork funding to keep the program running month to month. That’s no way to provide healthcare and no way to treat families. Even with the temporary funding federal officials have pledged, Colorado’s program will be gone by the spring if Congress doesn’t act.
Call your U. S. Senator and Representative and tell them that’s not who we are. We take care of our children. We give them the healthy start they deserve. We don’t play politics with their future. Congress votes on January 19th to fund the federal government; long-term CHIP must be included when they do. It’s up to us to keep this important issue front and center. Your call can make a difference today.
Additional talking points for you to use when contacting your Senators or Representative are below:
- Congress has no more excuses. After making promise after promise, they let permanent funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), called Children’s Health Plan Plus (CHP+) in Colorado, run out. They’re playing politics with the health and well-being of our children. CHIP is one of only a few programs that enjoys bipartisan support. Congress has never let CHIP funding lapse like this. And it’s inexcusable.
- Imagine a hard-working family—one that makes too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. And a child in that family is ill. Now, they will be faced with the reality that they may lose the coverage for life-saving care that child needs. And all that’s standing between them and the reassurance they need that their child will continue to be covered is one, simple vote in Congress.
- CHIP provides health coverage for 9 million kids and 90,000 in Colorado —including many with special needs and chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma. Now the future of that coverage is under immediate threat by the inability of Congress to provide long-term funding for CHIP. Colorado also provides coverage to pregnant women, and some of these women are due in March and do not know if they will have health insurance coverage for their deliveries.
- CHIP is designed around what children need. It has a strong pediatric provider network and covers all of the services kids need to stay healthy. And kids with health coverage are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely to graduate from college, and have higher incomes as adults.
- A short-term funding patch doesn’t cut it when it comes to providing health coverage kids and families can depend on. State programs will have no choice but to cancel coverage. Colorado has already been forced to notify families that their coverage could end soon. Our kids need more than Congress’ word that they support CHIP. Time is running out and it’s time to act.
- Anything less than fully funding CHIP not only puts kids and families at risk but it’s also fiscally irresponsible. It doesn’t give states the certainty they need to fund kids’ health coverage and plan their budgets as they head into their new legislative sessions. And Colorado has already spent valuable state resources preparing to shut down our program.
- As part of any new budget agreement, Congress must renew CHIP funding for at least 5 years, a solution that leaders on both sides of the aisle have agreed to. States can’t rely on limited patchwork funding and families can’t afford to go without coverage for their kids.
- Congress, it’s past time to put our nation’s children above your partisan politics. If you truly support CHIP, fully fund it now. The future of 9 million kids is at stake.
Contact Information for Colorado’s U. S. Senators
Senator Michael Bennet
Local office (303) 455-7600 National office (202) 224-5852
Senator Cory Gardner
Local office (303) 391-5777 National office (202) 224-5941
Contact Information for Colorado’s U.S. Representatives
Call if you live in Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Brighton
Local office (720) 748-7514 National office (202) 225-7882
Call if you live in Grand Junction, Durango, Pueblo, Gunnison
Local office (970) 259-1490 National office (202) 225-4761
Call if you live in Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Brush, Burlington, Fort Morgan, Stratton, Julesburg, Holyoke
Local office (970) 702-2136 National office (202) 225-4676
Call if you live in Salida, Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, Monument, Fountain, Canyon City, Woodland Park
Local office (719) 520-0055 National office (202) 225-4422
Call if you live in Lafayette, Niwot, Boulder, Fort Collins, Lyons, Loveland, Granby, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Kremmling
Local office (303) 484-9596 National office (202) 225-2161
Call if you live in Lakewood, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn
Local office (303)274-7944 National office (202) 225-2645
Call if you live in Denver
Local office (303) 844-4988 National office (202) 225-4431