Happy Birthday CHIPRA!
A year ago, President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) into law. As we look back on the impact of this new legislation over the past year, it is obvious that we have much to celebrate. CHIPRA made vast improvements to kid's coverage and access to care. Specifically, it:
Significantly increased the funding states receive for their CHIP programs.
Improved the CHIP benefits package by requiring dental coverage and mental health parity.
Addressed racial and ethnic health disparities by investing in improved outreach, interpretation, and translation services.
Simplified enrollment by allowing state to accept an income determination from another state agency.
Organizations across the country are hosting events to commemorate this momentous occasion. Additionally, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, released a report marking CHIPRA's one-year anniversary that highlights the tremendous achievements states have made over the past year.
As we reflect back on CHIPRA's accomplishments, it is important to remember the critical role that CHIP played as a safety net over the past year. As the recession deepened, and more people lost their jobs and their health insurance along with it, families were able to rely on CHIP and Medicaid to protect the health of their children and shelter them from this economic storm. Thanks to President Obama and Congress' commitment to children's health, millions of families were able to find affordable coverage for their kids.
However, even with all the gains states have made with kids coverage over the past year, there is still ground left to cover.
Nearly 5 million kids nationwide are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but remain uninsured. All over the country advocates and state legislators are getting to work to find new strategies to get these kids enrolled. What's more, Secretary Sebelius and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are teaming up on a new initiative to ensure that every child has access to affordable health insurance coverage. With all these new efforts, it's clear that by the time CHIPRA turns two, we'll have even more to celebrate!