On the December 11th episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel brought his seven-month-old son, Billy, onstage to advocate for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, or CHIP. If Kimmel’s speech inspired you to do more, there are ways you can call Congress to make the case for CHIP.
For the past 20 years, the Children’s Health Insurance Program has been popular on both sides of the aisle for its funding of health insurance for children from low- and middle-income families. But this year, Congress let funding for CHIP lapse as it concentrated on passing the Republican tax reform bill.
Many states have continued to operate CHIP using leftover funding, but other states have had to borrow from their Medicaid budgets to keep these children insured. If CHIP does not receive funding before the end of the year, states will no longer be able to provide coverage. And although Congress has passed bills to reauthorize CHIP, lawmakers have not yet budgeted a way to fund it.
Here’s how you can urge Congress to fund CHIP now:
Call your elected officials.
The most tried-and-true method for getting ahold of members of Congress is to call them. The Senate website provides a directory of Senators and the House of Representatives also provides a staff directory. In your call, be sure to state that you are a constituent and that you are asking your official to fund CHIP by the end of the year.
Sign an online petition.
Signing petitions online is quick and easy. All you have to do is enter your name and email address, and you will be added to the list of those who support CHIP. Currently a petition is circulating on Credo Action, and Change.org also has a petition on its site.
Text your elected officials.
You don’t have to call your Congress members if talking on the phone makes you uncomfortable. Instead, why not try using Resistbot to text your Senator or Representative? Simply text “resist” to 50409, enter your name and zip code, and type in the message you want to send. The service will automatically text your Senators, but you can request that your Representative is contacted, too.
Making sure that Congress funds CHIP could make a huge difference to millions of children and their families. We hope that Congress continues to fund this program, but until then, we’ll be doing what we can to fight for it.