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Daily Action: Take CHIP Off The Old (Chopping) Block


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 do everything you can to ensure that spending is reauthorized for the Children's Health Insurance Program -- immediately. I am furious that Republicans pushed this issue aside so they could focus on one last attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 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. Most of those children will be uninsured by the end of the year if you don't act now! It's time for Congress to accomplish the basic necessities of governing, and this is one of them. Thank you!


BACKGROUND
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire on September 30. Since its inception in the mid-1990s, it 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. Nine million children currently receive coverage through CHIP, which has nearly eliminated the problem of children lacking insurance in the United States.

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.) As Congress has taken its eye off the ball in recent weeks, focusing instead on the Senate's Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the ACA, states have begun preparing for a scenario in which federal funding runs out completely before the holidays.

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.