Subject Line: Renew funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Dear Members of the Colorado Congressional delegation:
I am writing to you today because the health and well-being of Colorado’s children is at stake. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding is set to expire on September 30, 2017. I urge you to renew funding for this important program through 2022 at the currently established levels that enable Colorado to implement a successful program.
CHIP, or CHP+ as Colorado's program is called, has made a genuine impact on thousands of Colorado kids and their families as well as the pregnant women the program serves. By bridging the gap for working families who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford private health insurance for their children, this program represents the difference between a healthy start and a childhood plagued with no preventive care, poor health, and poor performance in school.
CHIP has benefited Colorado's working families by ensuring their kids get the healthy start they need to reach their full potential. A failure to extend federal funding for the program would jeopardize coverage for about 90,000 kids and pregnant women in Colorado. Nationally, about 8.9 million kids and their families use CHIP for their health insurance. If financing is not extended, coverage losses will start in early 2018 according to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF). CHIP has been an integral part of Colorado’s efforts to get kids covered, as well as national coverage gains, since its inception 20 years ago. A loss of the program would wipe out much of this progress Colorado and other states have achieved. CHIP, partnered with Medicaid, has given Colorado the two-pronged approach it needed to help increase coverage for kids, driving the percent of uninsured Colorado kids to an all-time low of only 2.5 percent.
Across its nearly 20-year history, CHIP has enjoyed bi-partisan support because it increases health insurance for children and helps working families while operating more like a private insurance plan through membership fees and co-pays. Even in our current, deeply divisive political environment, there is no reason CHIP should not continue to enjoy this kind of support. It's a strong program with a track record that has proved its value to our country, our state, Colorado’s working families and, most importantly, the children and pregnant women it serves. It deserves your attention and support.