Pediatricians celebrate CHIP by reviving 25 urgent improvements / Public News Service

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Since its inception in 1997, the rate of uninsured children in the United States has been It fell nearly 10 percentage points.

Dr. Mary Moody, chair of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Missouri Chapter and a pediatrician in St. Louis, described the program as a “blessing” for many families, especially those who earn enough to not qualify for Medicaid, but do not have employer-sponsored coverage or are struggling In order to bear other insurance costs.

“These children benefit from routine check-ups and management of chronic diseases, such as asthma follow-up and so on,” Modi noted. “Allowing that gap to be filled with CHIP is really keeping kids healthy and strong.”

Missouri only last year began to implement Medicaid expansionalthough there are legislative efforts to abolish it and withhold funds.

Moody noted that while CHIP has remained a stable program for families, there is still room for growth, such as implementing 12-month continuous coverage for children, and covering Missouri children regardless of their immigration status.

The COVID relief bill from early in the pandemic requires ongoing coverage for all children throughout the public health emergency, which is set to expire October 13. Modi emphasized that continued coverage has proven to be cost-effective for the state, as well as beneficial to children and families.

“We’ve seen that these children have more consistent care,” Moody noted. “There is less fragmentation, as children and their parents don’t show up to the doctor’s office and realize that their health insurance is inactive for whatever reason.”

In Missouri, the upper income limit for a family of three for their children to be eligible for CHIP is just over $70,000 per year.

Joanne Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, believes Congress should permanently reauthorize CHIP, to build on the progress it has made.

“Children face many challenges these days,” Al-Aker stressed. “Ensuring that they have access to affordable and accessible health care is critical so that we can get our children back on the right track.”

Disclosure: Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families contributes to our Fund for Reporting on Children and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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