Last week, President Obama presented his $3.9 trillion FY 2015 budget request to Congress, outlining his spending priorities for FY 2015. At a time when budget-cutting is on the minds of everyone in Washington, it was a relief that the President’s plan avoids major changes to Medicaid and fully invests in Affordable Care Act (ACA) initiatives. And, even though funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) doesn’t expire till September 2015, the Administration used the opportunity of the annual budget release to highlight its continued commitment to CHIP. The White House knows that CHIP is essential for 8 million children in every state across the nation. Congress will need to act if their coverage is to be protected into the future. As our campaign to extend funding for CHIP is just getting off the ground, it is heartening to know that CHIP is still a priority for the President.

The President’s budget also includes a key initiative to help states find and enroll uninsured children into health coverage. Specifically, the budget includes funding to make permanent Express Lane Enrollment simplifications that allow states to use streamlined processes to enroll qualified children into Medicaid and CHIP using data-matching from other means-tested programs. It makes sense if a child is enrolled in programs like Food Stamps or the free and reduced school lunch program to make sure that they can get signed up for health coverage, too, without having to navigate lots of bureaucratic red tape.

For a more thorough run-down of the impact of the President’s Budget on children’s health, check out our latest fact sheet.

Overall, for children’s health care, the President’s budget is strong in protecting the programs that children rely on. It is important to remember that the budget released last week represents only the Administration’s wish list of priorities, providing a blueprint for Congress to consider as it begins the process of allocating federal dollars for spending. Ultimately, Congress holds the reins on setting funding levels.

As the budget season moves forward, First Focus will continue to urge Congress to maintain support for the programs that serve as lifelines for our nation’s children, especially Medicaid and CHIP. We realize that Congress has a difficult job ahead but balancing the budget should not fall on the backs of children. Investments in children are essential not only to protect their health and well-being but also to secure our nation’s future economic success.