Posted on January 12, 2018
As part of a national effort to bring attention to a lack of federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the MHA joined member hospitals, the American Hospital Association, and a coalition of state and national organizations and healthcare providers for a Day of Action Jan. 10 via Facebook and Twitter. During the course of the day, the MHA’s social media efforts, using #SaveCHIP and #KeepKidsCovered, reached more than 7,500 people.
Federal funding for CHIP expired in September, and Congress has yet to approve a long-term funding solution for a program that covers nearly 9 million children across the nation, including approximately 120,000 in Michigan. The program, which helps kids whose families don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid but are unable to afford healthcare coverage, provides an affordable insurance option that helps cover expenses ranging from check-ups and immunizations to cancer care. Michigan’s popular MIChild program is funded through CHIP.
CHIP advocates are asking Congress to enact a five- or 10-year extension of current policy. Congress' recent short-term funding infusion was not sufficient to maintain the program and is set to expire Jan. 19. If a funding solution is not negotiated, states may have to bear the entire cost of CHIP; this potential consequence has prompted a number of states to notify parents that the program may be in jeopardy. According to recent news reports, officials in Michigan have indicated that they can maintain the program for a few more months. After that, they will need to examine whether the state can continue offering CHIP without federal funding.
Given the success of CHIP in Michigan and the number of kids currently benefitting from its healthcare coverage, the MHA is asking members to contact their elected officials in Washington, DC, and urge them to support a long-term funding solution. To assist with this effort, members can use the MHA’s online Legislative Action Center for assistance with contact information and drafting written communications. Members with questions should contact Laura Appel at the MHA.
Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Top Issues - Healthcare