9 million children could lose health insurance if Congress doesn’t save CHIP

CHIP historically has bipartisan support—so why is it in jeopardy now?

9 million children could lose health insurance if Congress doesn’t  save CHIP

When Jimmy Kimmel returned to his late-night show after his 7-month-old son, Billy’s, second heart surgery, he touched on a topic close to every parent’s heart: the relief of being able to access medical care when your child needs it. But, as Kimmel discussed on his show, this basic right is in jeopardy if Congress doesn’t act to save the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Since its creation in 1997, CHIP has provided health coverage to children in working families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid—with nine million children currently depending on it. CHIP also covers 370,000 pregnant women each year in 18 states.

“CHIP helps to bridge the gap and provide working families the opportunity for their children to be insured,” says Marcee White, fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) and M.D. with the Children’s National Health System, a children’s hospital based in Washington D.C.

The program funded jointly between the federal government and states has historically garnered bipartisan support. But Congress allowed federal funding to expire on Sept. 30, 2017, leaving states scrambling to continue funding the program. Without congressional reauthorization, a few states may try to absorb the cost, but most will not be able to sustain the program without federal funds, says Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project, which assists non-profit organizations in Kansas with implementing health policy.

Congress did take action in December to provide short-term funding through March of 2018, but the program’s long-term sustainability is still in question.

“There’s never been an issue before getting CHIP reauthorized and funded,” Weisgrau tells Motherly. “This is really a symbol of the level of dysfunction of Congress because in past years it never would have gotten to this point for a program as popular as this.”

Compared to other industrialized countries, the United States has a relatively high uninsured rate of 11.7% for adults. But thanks in large part to CHIP, 95% of American children had health insurance in 2016—a historic high. Losing that coverage could mean those children are not able to get regular care such as immunizations, check-ups and screenings.

“Having a provider is only one piece of the puzzle,” White says. “Insurance is the other piece of the puzzle that ensures continuity of care.”

Losing CHIP would mean reverting back to a time when parents had to heavily weigh whether or not to seek medical care for their children, perhaps delaying treatment for as long as possible and then going to an emergency room as a last resort, White warns. Some parents may also seek to reduce their hours at work or quit their jobs altogether in order to qualify for Medicaid.

“If CHIP is not available, parents may also choose to pay into private insurance, however that might mean less food on the table or not paying other bills,” White says. “Parents are going to have to make difficult choices.”

So what should parents be doing? Advocating, White says, “Just like they do for their kids in school and elsewhere throughout their lives. We need parents to call their members of Congress. It’s important for families that are benefiting from CHIP to tell their stories.”

Parents should also talk to their health care providers about what their options are should CHIP cease to exist, Weisgrau suggests, noting that some providers may still see them even if they are unable to pay. Other options include seeking care at federally qualified community health centers or other safety-net clinics designed to provide care for people who don’t have insurance coverage.

In the best scenario, though, CHIP funding will continue.

Congress will be back in session starting Jan. 3, 2018, and White hopes both parties can work together to restore CHIP funding.

“CHIP gives children the foundation they need to be healthy,” she says. “It shouldn’t take children losing their insurance for Congress to act.”

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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