Lowey Visits White Plains Hospital to Call for CHIP Reauthorization
WHITE PLAINS, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, today joined medical professionals and child advocates at White Plains Hospital to demand that the Republican-led Congress immediately reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expired on September 30.
Joining Congresswoman Lowey at White Plains Hospital were Susan Fox, President and CEO of White Plains Hospital; Dr. Steven Safyer, President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine; Cora Greenberg, Executive Director of Westchester Children’s Association; Kathy Halas, Executive Director of Child Care Council of Westchester; Marcelle Nesci, a pediatric nurse practitioner at White Plains Hospital; Heather Miller, Executive Director of the Thomas H. Slater Center; Amy Wolfson, Chief External Relations Officer at Open Door Family Medical Center; Dr. Heather Brumberg, President of American Academy of Pediatrics NYS Chapter 3; Dr. Shetal Shah, Vice President of American Academy of Pediatrics NYS Chapter 2; and Karen Fink, clinic director for Family Services of Westchester.
“CHIP has historically been bipartisan. But rather than extend CHIP, Republican leadership wasted time in the days leading up to CHIP expiring to push yet another partisan health bill that couldn’t pass,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “After that failure, Republican leadership has focused solely on passing a tax scam that will take money out of the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers, and give massive tax cuts to corporations, all while adding more than $1 trillion to the deficit. It is unfathomable that congressional Republicans would go home for the holidays while we are weeks away from families getting letters in the mail saying their children’s health coverage is about to lapse, risking the health of thousands of children, some with serious medical conditions. Republican leadership needs to stop playing partisan games and reauthorize CHIP now.”
CHIP is a vital partnership between the federal government and states that expands access to health coverage for 9 million children and pregnant mothers in families that earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other health coverage. Three hundred fifty thousand New Yorkers are covered by CHIP. The program provides families with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, such as a family of three with an income of about $82,000, access to routine checkups, immunizations, prescription drugs, dental and vision coverage, and more.
As states begin to exhaust their federal CHIP funding, leaving millions of children at risk of losing health coverage, congressional Republicans are plowing ahead with a $1.5 trillion tax bill instead of reauthorizing the program. Sixteen states will exhaust CHIP funding by the end of January, and three-quarters of states, including New York, will exhaust all funds by the end of March. Three hundred fifty thousand New York children are at risk of losing health coverage unless Congress reauthorizes the program.
“Since CHIP was created in 1997, thousands of Westchester’s children have benefitted from comprehensive health care,” said Cora Greenberg, Executive Director of Westchester Children’s Association. “Today, 87,000, or nearly 37% of Westchester’s children and teens are insured through Medicaid and CHIP, providing well-baby visits, immunizations, regular check-ups and screenings, and life-saving medical treatments. If we lose CHIP, these children, their families and our county as a whole will face higher medical costs, suffer preventable diseases, and generally undo the incredible progress we’ve made in better health for all.”
“It’s inconceivable to me that the elected leaders of our country would deny children access to basic health care,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine. “It is Montefiore’s mission as one of the largest providers of health services to children in the counties we serve, to provide the best, most comprehensive health care. We take pride in nurturing the next generation of Americans. Fifty five thousand children in the Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties are depending on us and on our leaders in Washington. There should be no debate here. We are grateful that Congresswoman Lowey is taking a leadership role in this fight and bringing us all together in a united front to urge Congress to extend CHIP funding before it’s too late.”
Congresswoman Lowey has been a leading voice in Congress for CHIP. In October, Lowey toured Open Door Family Medical Center in Port Chester—a Federally Qualified Health Center serving Westchester County—and spoke with patients, staffers, local elected officials, and leaders of community organizations about the need for immediate reauthorization of federal funding for community health centers and CHIP.