Just before heading home for the holidays, Congress finally passed a CHIP funding extension -- nearly three months after the program expired on September 30th. The $2.85 billion in CHIP funds came as part of a stopgap government spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown.
The CHIP provision supposedly provides money for the program through March -- but some health advocates are skeptical the funds will last until even February, considering CHIP is a $13.6 billion dollar program (in FY 2016) and this funding bill of less than $3 billion is meant to cover the first half of the fiscal year, dating back to October 1.
At the Children's Cause, we are relieved that families of children with cancer and other critical conditions now have some small measure of assurance that their child's healthcare is protected heading into the new year. But we are disappointed that this funding does not provide long-term stability to the bipartisan program and frustrated that families of the 9 million kids who rely on CHIP funding will continue to face uncertainty and stress.
Securing a clean, multi-year CHIP renewal will remain one of our top priorities at Children's Cause in early 2018. Please continue to follow us - through our newsletter, Facebook and Twitter - for the latest updates and to find out how you can take action from home around this ongoing effort. In the meantime, you can continue to write Congress through our action alert to make sure they know this remains a pressing concern for American families and kids.
To those making year-end charitable donations, please know that your support right now enables us to do our advocacy work year-round and fight for life-saving programs like CHIP. Make your tax-deductible gift here.