20,000 Utah kids deserve a clean and immediate CHIP renewal
More than 100 days after funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program expired, Congress is still playing games with kid's care


January 19, 2018


Stacy Stanford
Utah Health Policy Project
Call: 801-718-6130
Email: stacy@healthpolicyproject.org

Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program expired on September 30th, 2017, and since then Congress has delayed renewing funding, waiting for the perfect opportunity to use the program as a political bargaining chip. Now they have their chance, as they are pitting nearly nine million children who count on CHIP against 690,000 young people depending on DACA. The reality is that Congress could have addressed CHIP renewal in a clean, no-strings-attached bill at any time over the last 4 months-- yet they chose to kick the can down the road, prioritizing their tax bill over kid's health care.

CHIP is vital to the well-being of Utah families. It is an excellent program with proven track record, and has always been renewed with little controversy. Before CHIP, thousands of Utah children went without health insurance, which meant going without checkups, not addressing illness in a timely manner and in the end, making it harder for kids to grow and meet their full potential. It also meant more parents facing financial disaster if one of their children needs to be treated for a major illness requiring hospitalization or an expensive medical procedure. Kids with CHIP coverage are healthier, miss fewer days of school, perform better in school and achieve higher-earning jobs later in life .  The Children's Health Insurance Program is truly an investment in Utah’s future.

"The delay is affecting family’s decisions now," said Matt Slonaker, Executive Director of the Utah Health Policy Project. "Just this week, I spoke with a young family, both parents working full time with good jobs, but with income low enough to qualify for CHIP. They were reluctant to enroll their new baby into CHIP, because they were worried that the program would be short lived and not cover the infant in the way they need."

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the cost of renewing the Children's Health Insurance has reduced dramatically . A 10-year funding package would now cost nothing in the long run, and would in fact save the government six billion dollars, causing a decrease in the deficit.

There is no justification to continue delaying a clean CHIP renewal. It should not be attached to a spending bill. It should not be used to hold DACA recipients hostage. Members of Congress need to put kids first, and take care of the Children's Health Insurance Program on its own-- and they need to do it quickly.

Media Contacts:
Stacy Stanford
Health Policy Analyst, Utah Health Policy Project
Cell: 801-718-6130
Matt Slonaker   
Executive Director, Utah Health Policy Project  
Cell: 406-360-2981