President Obama And Congress Make CHIP Reauthorization A Reality

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), among other things. Since its creation in 1997, CHIP has played a critical role in reducing the number of uninsured children nationwide. According to a Government Accountability Office report, since CHIP began, the percentage of uninsured children has decreased by half, from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 6.6 percent in the first three months of 2014. CHIP has been a particularly important lifeline for Hispanic children, who are more likely to be covered by the program than by private insurance. A recentevaluation of CHIP highlighted that in the 10 states examined, more than half of the children enrolled were Hispanic.

“As a longstanding advocate of quality, affordable and accessible health coverage for all, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauds Congress for working diligently to maintain funding for this vital program and President Obama for swiftly signing the bill into law. By investing in the health and well-being of our children, we are making a critical investment in the future of our country,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, NCLR. “While we would have preferred a longer CHIP extension, we commend both parties for working together to pass this commonsense legislation. We hope that the overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate will serve as a model moving forward on how to solve problems by working together.”

Latino children continue to be disproportionately uninsured. In fact, they are 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured compared to all children. However, programs such as CHIP present an opportunity to further reduce this disparity. According to a report NCLR released last fall with Georgetown University, 66.1 percent of uninsured Hispanic children in the United States—or 1.3 million Hispanic children—were eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but not enrolled in 2012. Outreach to eligible families, particularly Latinos, is critical to increasing awareness of CHIP, its benefits and the fact that enrollment occurs throughout the year.

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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