House Health Committee: Protect CHIP for Delaware Kids

Senator Thomas R. Carper
Senator Christopher A. Coons
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester
Washington, D.C. 20510

September 12, 2017 

RE: Protect CHIP for Delaware Children

Dear Sen. Carper, Sen. Coons and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester:

We often talk about how critical it is to invest in our future generations, to prepare them so they can pursue productive, successful lives and advance our society as the whole. Access to quality, sometimes lifesaving healthcare for our children is a vital part of that investment. A healthy child is more productive in school, at home and in all aspects of life.

Children should not be frivolous pawns in the budget and political negotiation process. Nor should ensuring their health be a partisan issue.

That’s why we, members of the Delaware House Health & Human Development Committee, write to you on behalf of the thousands of Delaware children and their families who depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a program that could be tragically upended without action by September 30. It’s a program that has provided much solace and security to lower-income families as they grapple with emergency treatment, life-altering diagnoses and the everyday health needs from a flu shot to cold medication.

There is much uncertainty when it comes to budget planning, but for the nearly 10,000 Delaware kids and nearly 9 million lower-income children nationwide who depend on CHIP there is no question – this program is needed and necessary to their livelihoods. It helps families not be forced to decide whether to pay for groceries or medication and basic treatment. It gives parents a sense of security and peace in knowing that coverage is in place when a need for care arises.

Delaware is in the process of reforming its healthcare system, but it is not prudent or responsible to limit access as we move forward. Without an extension by Congress, a federal policy commission estimates that CHIP funding could be exhausted in the state by February 2018.

We acknowledge that Congress has many difficult decisions to make through the end of the year. However, this is one decision that should not be gambled or left to early-morning debates. Lives could very literally be at stake. We urge you to take action to extend and fully fund CHIP so that Delaware children and children throughout our country will have the security and healthcare access they need.

Sincerely,

David S. Bentz                         Debra Heffernan                     Paul S. Baumbach
State Representative                 State Representative                 State Representative
Health Committee Chair          Health Committee Vice-Chair  Health Committee 

Earl G. Jaques                          John A. Kowalko                                 Sean M. Lynn
State Representative                 State Representative                             State Representative
Health Committee                    Health Committee                                Health Committee 

Sean Matthews                         Edward S. Osienski                              Kimberly A. Williams            
State Representative                 State Representative                             State Representative
Health Committee                    Health Committee                                Health Committee 

Ruth Briggs King                     Kevin S. Hensley                                 Harvey R. Kenton            
State Representative                 State Representative                             State Representative
Health Committee                    Health Committee                                Health Committee 

Joseph E. Miro                         Lyndon D. Yearick
State Representative                 State Representative
Health Committee                    Health Committee