Act Now On Children’s Health Insurance Program

Dems Rhetoric: ‘Stop Playing Political Football With The Health Care Of Our Children,’ ‘Children’s Lives At Risk’

FLASHBACK: All Senate Finance Committee Democrats Voted For A 5 Year S-CHIP Extension In October:  “The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved by voice vote its bipartisan bill to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. … The bill (S 1827) by Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Wyden would renew funding for the program for five years…” (“Panel Backs Bill To Renew Children's Health Insurance Funding,” CQ 10/4/2017)

Inaction On S-CHIP ‘Inexcusable,’ ‘There Is No Excuse For This Delay,’ ‘Should Be A No-Brainer,’ ‘Every Day That Goes By, People Are Worried’

NOW-SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): “Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program has reached a crisis level and my future colleagues must stop playing political football with the health care of our children and act now to ensure Alabama's most vulnerable do not begin losing coverage… It is absolutely unacceptable for partisan fighting to delay renewing funding for CHIP.” (“Doug Jones Urges Congress To Renew CHIP Funding Affecting 150K Alabama Children,” Al.Com, 12/19/2017)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): “Healthcare coverage for kids … should be a no-brainer. I strongly support these programs and hope we can provide stability soon.” (Sen. Feinstein, Congressional Record, S.8233, 12/21/2017)

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “I never thought the day would come when Congress would put children’s lives at risk by allowing funding for CHIP to lapse… it’s time we vote on a long-term solution that upholds our promise to America’s children.” (Sen. Menendez, Press Release, 1/12/2018)

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): “Crystal and her son Noble… are scared to death about what will happen to them if Congress doesn’t save CHIP. She said CHIP is ‘the difference between living a middle class lifestyle, or being part of the poverty line.’ It is the difference between a middle-class lifestyle or being part of the poverty line. … We passed a bipartisan CHIP extension out of the Finance Committee. It is ready to go. If Republican leaders would put it on the floor today, it would pass. I assume it would pass with at least 90 votes. There is no excuse for this delay. … This is about whose side you are on. Do we work for corporations that send our jobs overseas, or do we work for families, such as Crystal Lett and her son Noble?” (Sen. Brown, Congressional Record, S.8212, 12/21/2017)

  • SEN. BROWN: “It is bipartisan. It has never had much of any opposition. … Healthcare for our kids shouldn’t be controversial. ... It shouldn’t be partisan. It should be easy. … It is past time for folks in Congress, with taxpayer-funded healthcare, to do their jobs and extend CHIP.” (Sen. Brown, Congressional Record, S.101, 1/9/2018)

SENS. MARK WARNER (D-VA) & TIM KAINE (D-VA): “We write again to emphasize our support for the prompt reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We ask that you include bipartisan legislation reauthorizing CHIP in any upcoming funding legislation. Prompt reauthorization of this program is necessary to protect the health of thousands of Virginia children and families… It is imperative that Congress act quickly to end the uncertainty around health care coverage for thousands of Virginia children. The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services is preparing to notify families of the impending loss of coverage. As such, we request that a full CHIP reauthorization be included in the next available legislative vehicle, so we can prevent letters from going out in Virginia that will unnecessarily frighten parents whose children are in CHIP. On January 31, 2018, Virginia will have insufficient funds to continue the program, and thousands of children in our state would be at risk of losing health care coverage. We can, and must, put an end to this uncertainty.” (Sens. Warner & Kaine, Letter To Sen. McConnell, 12/7/2017)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “…the Congress has put our children’s health and well-being on the back burner. My colleagues and I do not think that children’s health belongs on the back burner. … Mothers are lying awake at night. Fathers are tossing and turning, worrying about their healthcare coverage. … leaders in Congress just don’t seem to care. They don’t seem to care if these families have the health insurance coverage they need so they can get an x ray or pay for an antibiotic or run some tests.” (Sen. Warren, Congressional Record, S.6805, 10/25/2017)

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): “Access to top-quality health services helps people care for their families and builds a healthy Maine community… Right now, Congress’s neglect to fully fund CHIP and community health centers puts families in our state at an unnecessary risk. This is an abdication of our responsibility to the people we serve. For the hundreds of thousands of Maine people who use these essential services, and for millions more across the country, I urge my colleagues to act now and fund CHIP…” (Sen. King, Press Release, 12/15/2017)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “This program, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, was forged in bipartisanship. ...struggling families would like to have some stability, not have their children be a bargaining chip in some broader vision… Let’s put aside that vision of using our kids as a bargaining chip and pass this bill and get it to the President’s desk.” (Sen. Merkley, Congressional Record, S.76, 1/8/2018)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): “It is important that we act. We could act right now. This is bipartisan. We passed a bipartisan bill out of the Finance Committee in September, before the deadline. … Every day that goes by, people are worried about what is going to happen. Are they going to be able to take their child to the doctor, be able to get their asthma treatments, handle their juvenile diabetes, cancer treatments, or the normal things that happen to kids every day? I am not sure if there will be any votes today. We could, today, pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program … and let families across America know they are going to be able to have the medical care they need for themselves and their children coming into the new year.” (Sen. Stabenow, Congressional Record, S.8165, 12/20/2017)

  • SEN. STABENOW: “The clock is ticking every single day, and it has not been done. Folks may be trying to hold it hostage politically for some reason or trying to work on some deal at the end of the year. In the meantime, families are worrying, men and women are worrying, and veterans are worrying about what is going to happen, whether or not they are going to continue to get their healthcare.” (Sen. Stabenow, Congressional Record, S.7881, 12/6/2017)

SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): “It would be nice if our colleagues showed as much urgency for some of the other things we should be doing in the Senate, such as providing millions of kids with health insurance through the CHIP program… That is what we ought to be worrying about. … we should be focused on reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP, so that 9 million children across the country, including nearly 400,000 in Florida, can continue to have access to the health coverage they desperately need.” (Sen. Nelson, Congressional Record, S.8059, 12/18/2017)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “It has been 3 months since Congress let funds expire for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP, putting at risk the 9 million children nationwide who depend on the program for health insurance coverage. …we should be able to reauthorize CHIP—for longer than 3 months—without undermining public health. We should not have to make this choice, but here we are, being forced to choose between a misguided short-term patch or a wholesale government shutdown.” (Sen. Leahy, Congressional Record, S.8236, 12/21/2017)

SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): “I rise this afternoon to talk about the Children’s Health Insurance Program and, particularly, the reauthorization of that program. By reauthorization I mean taking action to continue a program that is not just worthy but battle-tested now for almost a quarter of a century nationally, at least 20 years. In States like Pennsylvania, it is more than 20 years, more like 25. The unfortunate reality, though, is this isn’t done. This program should have been reauthorized at the end of September, and it is not done yet. It has gone from unacceptable to inexcusable.” (Sen. Casey, Congressional Record, S.8157, 12/20/2017)

  • SEN. CASEY: “We know CHIP expired on September 30. It is a total failure of the government to allow that to happen. …any uncertainty about the Children’s Health Insurance Program is also an insult to the country.” (Sen. Casey, Congressional Record, S.8030, 12/14/2017)

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): “Now, with respect to the Children's Health Insurance Program, you're absolutely right, the authorization expired in September. And we need to address that issue.” (MSNBC, 12/21/2017)

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): “We urgently need to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which is a literal lifeline for more than nine million low-income children across the United States. Funding for CHIP ran out months ago in September, and already, some states have had to notify parents their children's health care coverage will soon lapse. That's just unacceptable.” (Sen. Coons, Democratic Weekly Address, 12/8/2017)

SEN. JOE DONNELLY (D-DE): “I have long supported the CHIP program. This program is vital to our families and vital to our children. We should reauthorize the CHIP program right away.” (Sen. Donnelly, Congressional Record, S.93, 1/9/2018)

SEN. MARIA CANTWELL (D-WA): “We must never forget what this program means for millions of children and their families.  We must keep the focus on covering kids and the adult population that go along with them in the most cost-effective way possible.” (Sen. Cantwell, Press Release, 10/4/2017)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): “This is about people's lives. And our failure to do our job, our failure to pass a budget and to extend life-saving programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, it's not about politics. It's not about headlines. It's not about point scoring.” (Sen. Murphy, Press Release, 1/11/2018)


Related Issues: Middle Class, Health Care, Senate Democrats