Bipartisan House Vote an Important Step Forward for Children
Ed Walz (Former Staff)Early Childhood Health
Washington – The United States House of Representatives today passed a $210 billion legislative package intended to fix a widely-lamented Medicare provider payment system. The bill also extends the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV) for two years. CHIP is widely credited with reducing the uninsured rate for children to record levels, even in the wake of a recession that cost millions of children their employer-sponsored healthcare. MIECHV is a voluntary, evidence-based initiative providing coaching and support for new parents. Home visiting has been shown to improve the health and development of children, while increasing children’s school readiness and their family’s economic stability.
Today’s vote clears the legislation for consideration in the U.S. Senate. Every U.S. Senate Democrat has cosponsored legislation that would extend CHIP for four years. Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee issued a joint statement recently, indicating that a four-year CHIP extension was essential to securing bipartisan support for the Medicare package. Several other senators have made similar public statements.
Responding to the House vote, the First Focus Campaign for Children issued the following statement from its president, Bruce Lesley:
“Today’s vote is an important step forward for children. In extending the bipartisan home visiting program for two-years, it protects an effective investment in the future of more than 100,000 families. Today’s vote also moves the debate to the Senate, creating an opportunity to secure the health care of 8 million children with a four-year CHIP extension.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.