This afternoon, President Barack Obama signed into law an extension and expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This program provides critical help to working families by covering the immunizations, well-child care, and occasional acute medical care children require to grow into healthy, productive adults.
CHIP covers roughly 7 million children today, and with this new law it will be able to cover an additional 4.1 million needy children. Notably, states may expand coverage to additional children in families who cannot afford health insurance but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, and to children who have legally immigrated to the United States. The new law also fortifies one of the key planks for health care reform—our nation’s strong and vibrant public health insurance programs.
As the nation grapples with an economic crisis, American families face the very real possibilities of reduced benefits and lost jobs. By renewing CHIP, we have ensured that our nation will continue to safeguard children’s health and well-being while we navigate these rocky economic seas.
With this success behind us, we now look ahead to the greater challenge of systemic health reform. CHIP will offer coverage to millions of children who are uninsured today, but we must still address the millions of additional children, uninsured parents, young adults, and others who will not be covered through this new law. We also know that rising health care costs burden American businesses and threaten our economic recovery. Only comprehensive health reform—reform that guarantees coverage and controls health care costs—offers safe passage through the rough waters ahead.
For more on SCHIP, see: