On 9/30/17, Congress let the CHIP program expire.
What is it and why should you care as a behavior scientist?
CHIP covers health care benefits for children (and in some states, pregnant women) of families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford health insurance. As a behavior analyst, I don't believe that health insurance coverage through CHIP is an entitlement. Children cannot control what conditions they are born into. It's pure luck. And, if you believe that life begins at conception, health insurance should also cover an unborn child.
Here's a link to 3 short, factual paragraphs about CHIP: Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Without Congress's renewal of the CHIP program, children and pregnant women will be at risk of losing basic access to physical, mental and behavioral health care by the end of the first quarter of 2018 (March 2018).
If Congress doesn’t care about children or pregnant women, maybe they will care about the many jobs that are at risk: the parents who will have to take more time off work because they can’t afford routine checkups OOP, the community health care providers who specifically work with FAMIS (i.e., CHIP in Virginia) and other state-level CHIP programs (I'm one of those providers), the teachers and therapists (such as vision, speech and OT) that have some services reimbursed by Medicaid, and the list goes on. Our President appears more concerned about tax cuts for corporations, and loves talking about “jobs”.
We all work hard because we know we are making socially-significant, meaningful change in this world. Let’s not be stopped now!
When is your state expected to exhaust CHIP funding?
Check out this figure and start asking your state level- the state representatives, legislators, state regulators of EPSDT programs, etc.
We need to start contacting our State Representatives and Senators. We need to teach advocacy skills to those most vulnerable, those impacted by CHIP and the potential threat of loss of health care.
If you want to volunteer to draft a letter, call a House Representative or Senator, or share a story of how you're empowering families of children/women covered by a CHIP plan in your state, please visit our Facebook page or get in touch via Twitter @operantcomfort!