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Monday, November 6, 2017

CHIP Stories Highlight Need for Action

Cate Bonacini

Director of Storytelling Initiatives

While Congress delays extending CHIP funding, states are grappling with what they might do if the money doesn’t come soon. Utah announced that it would restrict eligibility benefits, while Minnesota sought to use unspent funds from other programs. In the coming weeks, more and more states will begin to announce what they will do. 

Lost in the reporting about the political negotiations over CHIP is the impact this funding delay could have on the 9 million children on CHIP and their families. 

To understand what CHIP means to parents whose kids are enrolled in the program, we reached out to families across the country and asked them to share with us what is at stake for them if Congress neglects to extend CHIP funding. 

The result was overwhelming. 

We heard from parents whose children are currently covered through CHIP and others who say the program was there for them in their time of need. Among those speaking out were single parents, folks who lost jobs, people working minimum-wage jobs, grandparents and providers. Their stories show a clear impact: Delaying funding CHIP will have a dramatic impact on families. 

Here are just some of the things people shared with us:

  • This September, around the same time that federal funding for CHIP expired, my 10-month-old daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.  She has been covered by CHIP all of her young life, and the thought that she could lose that coverage at the same time that she was diagnosed with a serious infirmity was terrifying.—Jesse, Valley Bend, WV
  • Last year, my 1 year old was diagnosed with peanut and nut allergies. This happened shortly after my husband (our sole earner) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Having CHIP/KanCare allowed me the freedom to care for my family through medical procedures, without the added fear of my children losing health coverage. I'm so grateful for the program. Now, both my husband and son are doing well!—Hayley, Olathe, KS
  • When my husband was laid off, I was able to get my 1 year old on CHIP.   I paid a small monthly premium for my daughter to have the insurance coverage that she needed.   She was able to get her well visits and vaccinations.   When my husband found another job, she became insured under his policy at work.  CHIP gave us the peace of mind that I would not have to choose between paying our mortgage or her health care.—Marty, Noblesville, IN

Michael Douglas of the Akron Beacon Journal was right when he said in an op-ed, “(as long as Congress does not extend funding, it is) engaged in its own a brand of child neglect. Which is a shame.”

Do you have a story about how CHIP helped your family? Or will you be affected by Congress’ inaction? We want to hear from you. Share your story with us here