This week, Congressional leadership received a letter signed by over 500 local and national organizations (representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) asking them to enact a permanent extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — as we have done for Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs. One member of Congress, however, who won’t need convincing is Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán of California who has introduced H.R. 1791, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Permanency (CHIPP) Act to do just that. First Focus Campaign for Children president, Bruce Lesley sat down with her recently to discuss why this legislation is so vital for the 10 million children and hundreds of thousands of pregnant women who rely on CHIP for their coverage. 

Rep. Barragán explains — in detail — what CHIP means for millions of families in the United States and what a lapse in or barrier to coverage could mean. But, as she puts it, it really comes down to a simple question — “Are you for the children? Or are you not for the children?”

And it really is that simple for most American voters, as well. In a 2020 election-eve survey of voters by Lake Research Partners, a majority of voters — regardless of political party affiliation — said that they support CHIP permanency with 85% of voters saying that we should “ensure that every child in the U.S. has health insurance coverage.” If those numbers don’t convince you, Bruce Lesley recently laid out 10 million more reasons why we should protect the health of kids.

The fact is, CHIP is the only federal health coverage program that is temporary and repeatedly needs to be reauthorized by Congress. This is wrong and we need to work together to ensure that no child is at risk of losing health care because of policy decisions (or indecision). As Rep. Barragán put it: “Our current health care system fails when there is any barrier to a child receiving insurance coverage.”

We urge you to call your member of Congress and ask them to join the growing list of co-sponsors (or thank them for being one already) on this vital piece of legislation.