WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, an op-ed authored by Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Rob Wittman, Scott Taylor, Tom Garrett, Dave Brat, Morgan Griffith, and Barbara Comstock appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch urging Virginia’s senators to act on reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
December 1, 2017
More than 8 million low-income children in the United States depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for health coverage. That includes 66,000 children and 1,100 pregnant women here in Virginia. Under Virginia’s CHIP program, thousands of children have received immunizations, annual checkups, and preventive screenings that detect illnesses like cancer and heart defects before they become fatal.
Unfortunately, as the days on the calendar continue to tick by, these children come closer to losing the coverage they need to keep them healthy. Why? Because the United States Senate has yet to act on legislation to reauthorize CHIP, which lapsed at the end of September. While Virginia luckily has sufficient funding to ensure coverage during this period, Governor McAuliffe has indicated that this holiday season the state will begin to notify families that children will no longer have CHIP health coverage after January 31, 2018.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee worked diligently and in good faith to produce legislation that would fund CHIP in a fiscally responsible way. The CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, which would reauthorize CHIP through fiscal year 2022, was brought to the House floor and passed by a vote of 242-174. We cast our votes in favor of this legislation to make certain that the 40,830 Virginians using this coverage in the congressional districts we represent are not left in the lurch.
It’s hard to fathom why the Senate would stall this legislation or why anyone would choose to play politics with a program that has traditionally received bipartisan support. Thousands of Virginia children are in jeopardy of losing their health care coverage if the U.S. Senate doesn’t act. We’ve done our part in the House. Now, we need Virginia’s senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, to step up to the plate and urge quick action. We also hope McAuliffe will join us in the effort to advocate for the Senate to bring the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act up for a vote.
On behalf of the Virginia families we represent in Congress, we ask that the Senate act now to reauthorize CHIP. Virginians deserve certainty that this program will continue.
The writers represent the following Virginia congressional districts in the U.S. House: Rob Wittman — 1st District; Scott Taylor — 2nd District; Tom Garrett — 5th District; Bob Goodlatte — 6th District; Dave Brat — 7th District; Morgan Griffith — 9th District; Barbara Comstock — 10th District.