March 31, 2017
Dear your occupation :
Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) has long advocated for the well-being of children and the programs that support their healthy growth and development. These programs are critical in building the foundation of the next generation.
As you know, this past week marked the end of the American Health Care Act. However, New Jersey’s children will need a strong commitment to protect and strengthen their health care over the coming months.
In particular, New Jersey’s children’s health depends on key programs that will require full funding in the coming months, namely:
- The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a cost-effective, bipartisan program that provides 200,000 children with health insurance in New Jersey, bringing in $400 million in federal funding to the state’s budget.
- Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting, which provides evidence-based home visits to pregnant women and new mothers, with 7,000 families receiving home visiting and $20 million in federal funding to the state’s budget.
- Discretionary federal funding, which keeps children healthy through nutrition programs, supports children with disabilities in school, and gives researchers funding to improve health care outcomes.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has long enjoyed wide bipartisan support at the state and federal levels, and will run out of funding September 30, 2017. In New Jersey, nearly 200,000 children get their health insurance with help from CHIP, bringing in over $400 million to New Jersey’s budget in federal funding. Failure to reauthorize and fully fund CHIP will cut access to doctor visits and preventive care for these children and families.
CHIP is popular, cost-effective, and provides higher-quality care for lower cost than marketplace policies. Notably the nonpartisan Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), a nonpartisan group created by Congress to provide recommendations on public health insurance, recommends at least a five-year extension at current funding levels of CHIP to ensure stability for children’s health insurance. This reauthorization should extend current CHIP maintenance of effort and the 23 percentage point increase in the federal CHIP matching rate.
Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV)
Home visiting programs for pregnant women and infants are evidence-based programs with a strong track record of success. These programs bring trained home visitors to visit families to support preventive health practices, educate parents about child development and encourage positive parenting. Like CHIP, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program runs out of funding September 30, 2017. In New Jersey, almost 7,000 families received home visiting, across all 21 counties, with federal support of $20 million.
With federal government funding set to expire at the end of April 2017, it is essential that Congress pass an appropriations package that meets the health needs of children. The Trump Administration’s proposed budget proposes cuts to essential programming for children’s health, from basic research on disease at the National Institutes of Health, to disability services and therapies delivered in schools through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to nutrition funding in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and afterschool nutrition programs. Cuts to programs that support children will put children’s health in jeopardy in the short and long term.
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ACNJ looks forward to working with New Jersey’s representatives in Congress to ensure that the federal government continues to support children’s health and well-being. Thank you for continuing to stand for New Jersey’s children and families.
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