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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Leaders from Every State Say Act Now to Protect CHIP


Washington — The bipartisan national children’s advocacy organization First Focus today sent a letter to President Barack Obama and congressional leadership urging quick action to protect the millions of children who get their health care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The letter was coordinated by First Focus and cosigned by more than 400 national, state, and local organizations, including at least one organization in every state.

“Children’s advocates, including organizations from every single state in the nation, are united in urging Congress to act now to protect the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” said First Focus President Bruce Lesley.

As the letter details, CHIP is a bipartisan success story, created by a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democratic president in 1997. The initiative offers state governments flexibility to deliver coverage through private health insurance companies using programs tailored to the needs of children in each state. It is credited in large part for the 50 percent reduction in the rate of uninsurance among children since the late 1990s.

A recent First Focus paper articulates CHIP’s central role in the future of children’s health. But, as the advocates’ letter details, if Congress fails to act first, CHIP funding will drop by about 70 percent next year, costing millions of children their health care.

“The people on the front lines get it – state governments can’t wait for business-as-usual from Washington,” said Lesley. “State legislatures have to get things done, and that means planning ahead. To avoid a train-wreck on children’s health, Congress has got to act this year.”