Washington, D.C. — While Congress continues to debate the fixes to Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR, experts at the Center for American Progress have sent a letter to lawmakers strongly opposing any legislation that fixes the SGR without extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, or MIECHV, program. The letter—signed by CAP Senior Fellow Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Executive Vice President for Policy Carmel Martin, Vice President for Health Policy Topher Spiro, Director of Early Childhood Policy Katie Hamm and Maura Calsyn, CAP Director of Health Policy—says it would be “unconscionable for Congress to take care of physicians—among the most highly paid professions in our society—while leaving behind lower-income children.”
“The choices that Congress makes reflect its priorities and our values as a society,” the group wrote in the letter. “While it is important for Congress to act to prevent a large cut in federal funding to physicians, it is even more important for Congress to act to prevent a total cutoff in federal funding to lower-income children.”
In the letter, CAP experts express concern that if left unfunded, the loss of CHIP for low-income families would leave 2 million children uninsured and disrupt coverage for millions more as they transition off of CHIP plans and into the marketplaces and employer-sponsored insurance. Losing funding for MIECHV would mean the loss of key grant support for home visiting initiatives that have been shown to reduce health care costs, improve school readiness, and increase family self-sufficiency and economic security.
“Because the SGR fix is considered ‘must pass’ by Congress and the physician lobby, it is the best—and perhaps only—chance to ensure that CHIP and the MIECHV program continue past this year,” the letter continues. “If the ‘must pass’ SGR reform does not extend these programs, the MIECHV program will end, and we fear that interest in funding the CHIP program past this year will be insufficient to galvanize Congress to act.”
Click here to read the letter.
An Investment in Our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children by Stephanie Schmit, Christina Walker, Rachel Herzfeldt-Kamprath
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.7141.