U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly Tuesday announced his support for the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017 and Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act of 2017, two bipartisan bills that would reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Community Health Centers Fund, which expired on September 30. Donnelly has long supported funding the CHIP program and has previously helped secure funding for Federally Qualified Community Health Centers in Indiana.
Donnelly said, “Unfortunately partisan efforts to repeal health care delayed Congress from important work like reauthorizing funding for the CHIP program and community health centers. It is important that nearly 115,000 Hoosier children can continue to access quality health care through the CHIP program and community health centers across Indiana have the resources needed to keep serving Hoosiers. I am pleased to support these bipartisan bills and hope the Senate will consider them soon.”
On September 19, Donnelly joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging reauthorization of the Community Health Centers Fund before the September 30, 2017 deadline in a letter to the Senate HELP Committee. The Community Health Centers Fund helps support more than 10,000 community health centers throughout the United States, including 19 federally qualified health centers in Indiana. Nationally, community health centers serve approximately 26 million patients per year. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was established in 1997 to provide health insurance for children and pregnant women with income that is just above Medicaid eligibility levels. There are 8.9 million children who currently have health insurance coverage through CHIP. Without reauthorizing CHIP, Hoosier children could lose access to health care through this program and Indiana’s federally qualified community health centers could be forced to make difficult choices, including reducing their workforce, imposing hiring freezes, or shutting their doors.