Dear Senator Moran, Senator Roberts, Representative Estes, Representative Jenkins, Representative Marshall and Representative Yoder:

We are writing to urge you to work swiftly to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without action, CHIP is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Allowing CHIP to expire would put the health coverage of 8.9 million children nationally and nearly 40,000 in Kansas who rely on the program in jeopardy. Our hope is that the Kansas delegation can work in bi-partisan manner on a long-term funding extension.

For 20 years, CHIP has been a critical source of health coverage for children, ensuring that they have access to quality, affordable health care and oral health services. As a result, uninsurance among children is at a record low and health outcomes for those enrolled in the program have improved.

CHIP is a state federal partnership that gives states the flexibility needed to design the program in a way to meet their unique needs, which is why the program has always enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The children enrolled in CHIP are from working families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase insurance on their own.

CHIP’s uncertain funding future is a serious problem. Unless reauthorized and funded, dollars for CHIP in Kansas would run out in the first quarter of 2018. As a result, Kansas lawmakers would either need to raise new revenues to continue the program or impose substantial cuts, which would harm the health of Kansas’ children.

As Congress continues to explore broader changes to the insurance market, CHIP should remain a stable source of coverage for children. As advocates who are concerned about the health and well-being of children and Kansans, we are hopeful that you can quickly take action on a long-term CHIP funding extension.

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the non-partisan legislative branch agency charged with making recommendations to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP, recommended a five-year extension of CHIP. We urge you to follow that recommendation. Kansas’ children are depending on you. Please, don’t let them down.

Sincerely,

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas