WASHINGTON—Bruce Lesley, President of The First Focus Campaign for Children, released the following statement on the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS ACT of 2017 (HR 3922), a House bill to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP):

“We strongly support efforts in Congress to ensure continued health coverage for the 9 million children who rely on CHIP. Having missed the September 30 deadline to extend CHIP funding, states are preparing to dismantle their programs and alert families about disruption in their coverage.

The CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act includes an important five-year extension to the program. This long-term extension would provide peace of mind and health care security for millions of families and stability for states that will allow them to continue to improve their CHIP programs and to innovate.

We are also pleased to see parent mentoring as an option for outreach and enrollment funding included in the bill as it is an evidence-based strategy to enroll more children in coverage.

However, we are concerned that some of the offsets included in this bill could have a negative effect on children. In particular, cuts to the Prevention and Public Fund that states use for immunizations and lead-prevention work could be harmful to kids’ health and wellbeing.

As the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act moves to the House floor, we urge leaders in Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to find offsets that reflect the bipartisan nature of CHIP, a successful 20-year-old program that has always enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle.

We owe it to our nation’s children to enact the best possible policy to keep them covered and healthy.”