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Daily Action: Do Your Job, Congress! Part 2: Children's Health Insurance


CONTACT:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein

DC: (202) 224-3841
LA: (310) 914-7300
Sen. Kamala Harris
DC: (202) 224-3553
LA:  (213) 894-5000
Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Senator/Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the Senator/Representative to get back to work on a task that should have been accomplished by now: reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program. It is difficult to believe that Republicans have pushed this issue aside so they can focus on tax cuts for the wealthy! There is simply no excuse for failing to fund a program that has been successful for two decades, and that provides insurance, at little public expense, to 9 million children. It's already so late that many of those children will be uninsured by the end of the year. It's time for Congress to refocus on accomplishing the basic necessities of governing -- and ensuring children can access healthcare is at the top of the list. Thank you! 


BACKGROUND
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired on September 30 while Republican congressional leaders obsessed over their last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Since then, Congress has made no progress on restoring the program, as the GOP's attention has shifted from slashing healthcare access to cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans. In the meantime, states have been scrambling to come up with short-term fixes to keep their own CHIP-related programs afloat. Thirteen states, including California, are on the verge of running out of funds completely, while 25 others will have to shut their programs down by next spring if the federal program isn't renewed and fresh funding isn't provided. In Texas alone, 1 million children stand to lose health coverage by the end of January.

Nine million children currently receive coverage through CHIP, which has nearly eliminated the problem of children lacking insurance in the United States. Since its inception in the mid-1990s, CHIP has provided coverage to kids whose family incomes surpass Medicaid eligibility but aren't high enough to afford private insurance. In some states, the program also covers pregnant women.

CHIP is designed like Medicaid, with the federal government paying about 75% of its $14 billion budget and states picking up the rest. (Like Medicaid, the program was expanded as part of the Affordable Care Act.) Over the summer, Senate Finance Committee leaders Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) agreed on a deal to keep CHIP funded for five years, while lowering its funding slowly to pre-Obamacare levels. But they haven't figured out how to pay for that plan, and House Republicans may demand faster and more draconian cuts -- or might try to poison the reauthorization bill with measures that repeal parts of the ACA.