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3 Ways to Spread the Holiday Cheer "For Kids"
As kids across the country prepare their wish lists, our lawmakers in Congress have begun to prepare the next year's budget. And at a time when multiple vital programs for kids and families have expired, it's more important than ever that the budget focus on kids. Here's how Congress can spread holiday cheer this season:
"CHIP" in for Kids' Health Care
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covers about 9 million low-income kids whose families do not qualify for Medicaid. At the end of September, Congress let this vital federal-state program expire, leaving states scrambling to find a way to cover their kids. If CHIP is not reauthorized soon, six states will run out of funds by the end of the year, leaving too many kids without coverage. Please tell your legislators that any budget should include the bipartisan Keeping Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act that would fully fund CHIP without any bad deals for kids and families.
Restore Home Visiting Programs
As the old adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program connects families looking for support with trained professionals such as nurses and social workers. It served as many as 150,000 kids and parents in 2015 and has led to improved outcomes in health, education, and economic self-sufficiency. Although the House passed a bill to reauthorize the MIECHV program, the Senate let it expire earlier this year. Please tell your senators to support the reauthorization of MIECHV.
Stabilize the Insurance Markets
Earlier this year, the president decided to end the cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) that help American families afford health insurance, threatening to raise premiums and send the insurance markets into a tailspin. The Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 would stabilize the markets by funding these subsidies, which would in turn reduce both insurance premiums and the deficit. Please tell your legislators to support this important bill.
Bonus: Help Parents Afford Child Care
While the holidays are supposed to be an occasion to enjoy time with family, many parents are still stressing over finding affordable care for their young kids. Not only does the cost of child care exceed that of a four-year state college, but half of all Americans live in "child care deserts" with extremely limited access to care. The Childcare for Working Families Act would provide much-needed financial assistance to families struggling with child care bills and would take steps to improve the quality of care. Please tell your legislators to back this monumental bill.