O’Halleran, Arizona Reps Urge Congressional Action on CHIP Program

September 14, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Reps. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Martha McSally (AZ-02), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging the leaders to bring a robust reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for a vote.

In the letter, the legislators outlined the critical importance of the CHIP program in Arizona and the impact the funding has on KidsCare. Following the 2015 reauthorization of CHIP, Arizona reopened the KidsCare program and expanded access to coverage to thousands of children. CHIP funding is set to expire at the end of September unless Congress acts. In addition to North Carolina, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia, Arizona would deplete federal funds to cover health care for children by December if no action is taken. 

“Arizona’s children stand uniquely in the crosshairs if Congress fails to reauthorize CHIP, and I cannot sit idly by while their access to life-saving health care is at stake,” said Congressman Tom O’Halleran.“Arizona had one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, and we have just begun to make progress in our communities. We must take swift action and protect care for our children while building on our progress. I am pleased to work across the aisle with my Arizona colleagues on this bipartisan issue.”

“The health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of children in Arizona is at stake,” said Congresswoman Martha McSally. “Congress must bring the reauthorization of this bipartisan program to the floor for a vote, and I urge the Speaker to take this up.”

“It is pastime for Congress to pass a reauthorization of the CHIP program that has proven vital for low-income children and families in Arizona and across our country. For several years now, the State of Arizona legislature has regarded access to healthcare as a privilege and not a right, and unfortunately this view extends to even the most vulnerable population; our children,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva. “Both Congress and the State have a moral duty to lessen the healthcare coverage gap in our communities and passing full funding for CHIP will be one step in the right direction. But the State too must act to remove its misguided law that threatens to gut the program if federal funding falls below 100 percent.  Too much is at stake for our children to not take action.”

“A parent’s income should never restrict a child’s access to livesaving health care,” said Congressman Ruben Gallego. “After the hard-fought battle to reopen KidsCare enrollment in Arizona, thousands of children were able to receive the care they need to grow up healthy and happy. We must do everything we can to protect the CHIP program and ensure that the children of working families across the nation are guaranteed access to quality health care.”

“Thanks to KidsCare, thousands of Arizona kids have access to the healthcare they need,” said Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema. “A lapse in the program would be devastating to many Arizona families. Congress must work together on a solution now. We cannot play partisan games with the health and safety of Arizona kids.”

Click here to view full letter.