Pascrell, Menendez Join Pediatric Leaders to Call for Permanent CHIP Reauthorization
PATERSON, NJ – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) discussed the need to restore funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides healthcare coverage to more than nine million children from lower-income families in the United States. They were joined by Kevin J. Slavin, President & CEO, St. Joseph’s Health; Dr. Joseph A. Holahan, MD, Associate Chairman, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital; and Dr. Christin Traba, MD, MPH, FAAP, New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. They were also joined by Paterson resident Ziaira Dollar, who suffers from sickle cell anemia and is a CHIP recipient. The event was held at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center / St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ.
“Allowing funding to expire for a program as vital as CHIP is an embarrassment to this Congress and to the people we represent. Although members of both parties have pledged to renew money for CHIP, which provides health coverage to millions of low-income children, partisan blockades have stalled negotiations,” said Rep. Pascrell. “The bill passed by the House in November that extended CHIP funding for five years is not enough. It is time for Democrats and Republicans to come together and agree on comprehensive and permanent CHIP reauthorization before it is too late. We cannot turn our backs on America’s children due to partisanship.”
“I never thought the day would come when Congress put children’s lives at risk by allowing funding for CHIP to lapse,” said Sen. Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy. “I introduced the bipartisan KIDS Act last year to extend CHIP funding for five more years. Just this week we learned the KIDS Act would save the federal government money if it extended CHIP for ten years. We have a path forward that will not only secure health futures for America’s children but would save money. And I will continue to press for quick passage of the KIDS Act.”
Funding for CHIP, which covers more than 231,000 children in New Jersey, lapsed in September. Recently, the Trump Administration announced that the short-term extension of CHIP funding could expire by the end of the month, far earlier than previous projections.
“CHIP is an important tool in keeping our children healthy,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Colleen Kraft, MD, FAAP. “CHIP helps working families with affordable health care for their children. Without it, children have to stop vital medical treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer, inhalers for asthma, and other necessary medical treatments.”
“The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that CHIP will result in a zero-dollar expenditure for the federal government over the next 10 years; the value for providing healthcare for nine million children in the U.S. makes this deal an important investment for our children, including over 230,000 children in NJ,” said Fran Gallagher, CEO of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.