Children's Health Insurance Program

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In more encouraging public health news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that vaccination rates among kindergarteners have remained stable, with the median vaccine exemption rate at 2 percent. Some states even reported an increase in immunization rates.

Earlier this week, members of the Senate Finance Committee announced an agreement to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The announcement had been anxiously awaited by families and advocates across the nation, as the program’s federal funding expires in about two weeks. The agreement is good news, but coverage for CHIP’s 8.9 million children isn’t safe just yet.

The House and Senate health care bills are overflowing with proposals that will strip Americans of access to quality, affordable health care. But perhaps the cruelest part is what they do to children — the most vulnerable and powerless among us. Children can’t show up at the ballot box to protect their health and so it truly is up to the rest of us.

More than 8 million U.S. children depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program for access to timely medical care. The program is authorized through 2019, but its federal funding expires in September and it’s unclear what Congress will do.

Public health insurance programs often get a bad rap, despite a growing positive evidence base on their patient care, quality and outcomes. Earlier this month, another study emerged that found Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program not only outperform private insurance when it comes to children’s preventive care, they can serve as a model of comprehensive children’s coverage.