Grassley signals hope for 5-year CHIP deal

In a positive sign for children’s health, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) offered hope last week in Iowa that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) might receive bipartisan support for a 5-year reauthorization.

Grassley offered what he called “indications” of a possible long-term CHIP extension when asked about the program by Every Child Matters organizer Jill Applegate at a Shelby County public event last week. He expressed confidence  that Senate Republicans and Democrats would reach a deal “for sure” to extend CHIP before the September 30 deadline. He then expressed the real possibility of a full 5-year reauthorization, rather than a short-term extension, “if [Senators] can get things worked out in a non-controversial way.”

CHIP currently insures 8.9 million children in the United States. The program has enjoyed strong, bipartisan support for decades, and ensures that children have access to health benefits like well-child checkups, dental care, vaccines and more.

Congress passed a 2-year CHIP extension in 2015, which is set to expire on September 30. If they do not act to renew funding for the program by that deadline, states will face significant budget shortfalls and will likely have to delay enrollment or even cancel policies.

Every Child Matters joined over a hundred children’s advocacy organizations in sending a letter to Congress calling on them to act immediately to pass a 5-year extension of CHIP funding, so that children and families can continue to get the care they need. Read the letter here.

Watch our entire conversation with Senator Grassley below: