First Focus Campaign for Children sent this letter signed by 500 local and national organizations (representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) to the leadership of both chambers of Congress to urge them to enact a permanent extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Excerpt from the letter:

For almost 25 years, CHIP has been an essential source of children’s coverage, ensuring access to high-quality, affordable, pediatric-appropriate health care for children in working families whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase private health insurance on their own. CHIP has played a critical role in reducing the number of uninsured children by more than 68 percent, from an uninsurance rate of nearly 15 percent in 1997 to less than five percent in 2016, while improving health outcomes and access to care for children and pregnant women. CHIP, together with Medicaid, plays a particularly important role for children of color: in 2019 more than half of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, multi-racial, and Hispanic children relied on Medicaid and CHIP as their source of health coverage. Since 2017, uninsurance rates for children have risen a full percentage point to 5.7 percent. Around 726,000 children lost coverage between 2016 and 2019 – even before our country began facing a devastating pandemic that has left more than 28 million Americans infected with COVID-19, including more than 3 million children. As we work to reverse course and get all eligible children covered, making CHIP permanent is critical so families, medical providers, and governors can depend on it to always be there.

Read the full letter.