Connolly, Scott, Beyer and McEachin Urge Congressional Leadership to Reauthorize CHIP
Today, Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott, Don Beyer and A. Donald McEachin sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to immediately bring up bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The CHIP program, which historically has been a bipartisan effort, provides insurance to more than 66,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Earlier this week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffee began to notify families of the lack of CHIP funding.
"Further inaction is immoral and needless," the Members wrote. "CHIP has always received overwhelming bipartisan support. In fact, Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden reached a bipartisan deal to reauthorize CHIP for five years in September, and the Senate Finance Committee has already acted on this bill. We implore you to take up this bill, or a similar bipartisan reauthorization immediately."
The full letter follows and is available here.
Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:
In the Commonwealth of Virginia 66,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women rely on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In Fiscal Years 2016-2017 in Virginia, CHIP covered 218,190 immunizations, 221,309 well-child checkups, 21,430 glasses and contact lenses, and 326,567 dental visits. CHIP is an indispensable partner to Virginia in securing a healthy future for our children.
As you are aware, CHIP’s authorization expired on September 30th, and now Virginia will run out of funds in January 2018 if CHIP is not reauthorized. Governor Terry McAuliffe has been forced to notify families this week that Congress has yet to reauthorize CHIP and to prepare other options – which for some children and their families simply may not exist. Linda Nablo, chief deputy director at Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services has said “most families, their children will go without insurance.”
Further inaction is immoral and needless. CHIP has always received overwhelming bipartisan support. In fact, Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden reached a bipartisan deal to reauthorize CHIP for five years in September, and the Senate Finance Committee has already acted on this bill. We implore you to take up this bill, or a similar bipartisan reauthorization immediately.