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Mayor Bowser Sends Letter to Congress on the Need for the Reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program

Friday, October 13, 2017

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser and 29 mayors from around the country sent a letter to Congress urging immediate action to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in order to extend and protect coverage gains for millions of children. Congress failed to extend CHIP before it expired on September 30. If Congress refuses to extend CHIP, Washington, DC and all 50 states will no longer receive new funding to cover low-income children for fiscal year 2018 and beyond, forcing states to either reduce the insured rate for children or take resources from other parts of the budget. After sending the letter, which can be found HERE, Mayor Bowser released the following statement:

“Because Congress failed to reauthorize a program that has consistently received bipartisan support since its enactment in 1997, we are facing a situation where the health care of eight to nine million children across our nation – including tens of thousands of children in Washington, DC – is at risk. This is unacceptable. In the United States, in 2017, every leader in Congress should be working to expand access to health care for our children, not putting their care in jeopardy by letting a highly successful program expire. Washington, DC remains committed to ensuring every resident has access to high-quality health care, and today, I stand with mayors around the country in urging Congress to act quickly to reauthorize CHIP.”

See the full text of the mayors’ letter to Congress below.

Dear Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Wyden, Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Pallone:

Congress allowed funding allotments for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to lapse when funding expired on September 30, 2017. As Mayors, we are expressing our concern on behalf of the millions of working families who rely on the CHIP program for health and economic security.

Nationwide, between eight and nine million children depend on this program to get their medical checkups or to access a doctor when they are sick. Children with CHIP coverage are more likely to have well-child visits and receive dental care than children without insurance—and research has shown that children with an untreated illness have more trouble in school than those who do not. Moreover, parents of children with untreated illnesses could miss work or lose their jobs due to the necessity of caring for their children. Putting this program at financial risk not only hurts those children, but also threatens the health and future of our cities and our nation’s economy.

Unless Congress acts to extend this critical funding, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that all states will exhaust their CHIP allotments during Fiscal Year 2018. Some CHIP programs could even exhaust funding as soon as December 2017, with other states reporting they are at risk as well. While CMS has shared they may provide redistributed funds, all states will experience shortfalls, and separate state CHIP programs are making plans to end coverage once their funding expires.

We urge Congressional leaders to act without delay to reauthorize CHIP in a bipartisan way that will not harm our critical health safety net programs. We support your efforts to move the CHIP extension this month to ensure no gap in funding or coverage for our nation’s children and families.

Sincerely,

Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, DC

Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, TX

Stephen Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC

James Crudup, Mayor of Eagle Harbor, MD

Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York, NY

Diane Delaware, Mayor of Yazoo City, MS

Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, KY

Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary, IN

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA

Oliver Gilbert, Mayor of Miami Gardens, FL

Andrew Ginther, Mayor of Columbus, OH

Javier Gonzales, Mayor of Santa Fe, NM

Michael Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO

Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, MO

Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA

Marnitta King, Mayor of Capital Heights, MD

Lyda Krewson, Mayor of St. Louis, MO

Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, CA

Lillian Martin, Mayor of Fairmount Heights, MD

Mark Mitchell, Mayor of Tempe, AZ

Ken Miyagishima, Mayor of Las Cruces, NM

McKinley Price, Mayor of Newport News, VA

Catherine Pugh, Mayor of Baltimore, MD

Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tuscon, AZ

Jack Sims, Mayor of District Heights, MD

Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison, WI

Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, AZ

Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond, VA

Harold Thompson, Mayor of Union, SC

Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, TX

Earnest Ware, Mayor of Spencer, OK