Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced a joint resolution this week calling on Congress to authorize a long-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The program provides insurance to 1.3 million California children and is set to expire by March.
“Children’s health is an imperative and shouldn’t be treated like a political football,” said Senator Dodd. “Families are scared because Congress’s inaction is jeopardizing healthcare for millions of kids. Californians on both sides of the aisle want Republican leaders to follow their Democratic colleagues and act quickly to pass a clean, long-term reauthorization of this critical lifeline for children. Everyone in our country, especially vulnerable young people, deserves access to quality healthcare.”
CHIP was created in 1997, and it is has been reauthorized by the United State Congress multiple times with significant bipartisan support. However, funding for CHIP expired at the end of September and Congress has yet to authorize long-term funding for the program. Late last month, Congress narrowly averted disaster by passing a short-term measure to keep the program alive until the end of March. If Congress fails to further extend funding for the program, millions of children across the U.S. would ultimately lose their insurance coverage. The program covers 13 percent of all children in the California.
“CHIP should have been at the top of the federal government’s to-do list last year,” said Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena). “Instead it was superseded by tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and repeated attempts to gut access to affordable health care. When Congress returns this month, I will do all I can to ensure swift passage of a solution that doesn’t force cuts to other programs for kids in order to pay for children’s health care. Republican leaders should heed the calls from Sen. Dodd, the California State Legislature and millions of families across our country by prioritizing long-term funding for CHIP.”
Senator Dodd’s resolution is co-authored by dozens of other Democratic state Senators and calls for a minimum five year extension of CHIP, which would provide certainty for states and families. The resolution now awaits approval by the state Senate and Assembly.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.