Children do BETTER WITH health COVERAGE

 We are a strong, independent voice for children. We are here to connect you to resources and equip you with tools for protecting children through education, advocacy and public policymaking.

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CHIP (CoverKids) Sign-On Letter

We are concerned that funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired over 60 days ago, and Congress still has not acted to reauthorize this important program that almost 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women nationwide rely on for health insurance. CHIP is known as “CoverKids” in Tennessee, where it provides coverage to 106,000 children as well as pregnant women in low- to mid-income families. It is imperative that Congress act now to continue this bipartisan plan and prevent millions of children from losing access to health care.

CHIP stands on the shoulders of Medicaid and these programs, together with employer-sponsored dependent insurance, ensure that  96% of Tennessee’s children now have coverage. This coverage allows children to get preventative, dental, hearing, and vision care. Experts agree that children with health insurance have better school attendance, get better grades, are more likely to graduate from high school, and obtain better-paying jobs. The American Academy of Pediatrics states it should be a national priority to ensure that children will have reached their full potential at the time they transition into adulthood, and health coverage is crucial to that goal.

After rigorously evaluating the program, a 2014 report to Congress summarized,

… the evaluation found CHIP to be successful in nearly every area examined. CHIP succeeded in expanding health insurance coverage to the population it is intended to serve, particularly children who would otherwise be uninsured, increasing their access to needed health care, and reducing the financial burdens and stress on families associated with meeting children’s health care needs.

Several states have been forced to prepare to end their CHIP programs if Congress does not act. It requires a great amount of time and resources to begin the processes of changing enrollment and eligibility systems, sending notices to families, and reviewing/terminating agreements with providers and third-party administrators. At its current rate, Tennessee will exhaust CHIP funding by next May, but this estimate is not certain. Also, delaying action would create uncertainty and costly administrative hassle that can be avoided. The chaos that would ensue once notices are sent to families would undermine trust in the program and create long-term setbacks that should absolutely be avoided. Children need and deserve secure, uninterrupted access to health care.

We urge Congress to immediately enact a five-year extension of CHIP funding with no changes to the Maintenance of Effort or enhanced CHIP matching rate provisions. It's critical to prevent a shortfall in Tennessee’s budget (which has already assumed federal CHIP funding) and avoid terminating coverage for children and families who depend on it. CHIP reauthorization should not fall victim to partisan politics.

This nation has made wonderful progress to insure children, and we must continue to do everything possible to protect and improve health coverage for children and pregnant women. The health of our nation is at stake.

If you cannot see the sign-on form, click here


The Children's Champion

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12/14 - The Children's Champion: Vol. 13

11/18 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 12

11/1 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 11

10/19 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 10

10/4 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 9

9/21 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 8

9/8 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 7

8/23 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 6

8/9 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 5

7/28 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 4

7/14 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 3

6/30 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 2

6/16 - The Children's Champion, Vol. 1

In case you missed our last webinar, Health Insurance Enrollment for Tennessee's Children: 

TJC's Kinika Young and Chris Coleman will review the different ways that children get health insurance in Tennessee, the exact pathways to enroll in each program, and the available resources to help enroll them. We will also discuss Tennessee's population of uninsured children and ways we can work to insure every eligible child in our state.

In case you missed our children’s webinar series Protecting Tennessee’s Children:

Tennessee Justice Center and our national partners are thrilled to announce a free, four-part webinar series covering how Medicaid, CHIP, Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act, food assistance programs and other public initiatives affect Tennessee’s children and what is at stake moving forward.

Webinar Recordings and PowerPoint Slides

Webinar I: Medicaid/TennCare

Webinar II: CHIP/CoverKids

Webinar III: SNAP

Webinar IV: AHCA

Policy Briefs

CHIP Reauthorization

For more information:

For help with children's coverage issues, please visit our Getting Coverage for Kids page.

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To learn more, check out our Take Action page or email for other ways you or your organization can get involved.

Our work is made possible by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation Insuring America’s Children Reaching the Finish Line Project grant that allows us to build a children-specific advocacy branch. Through this grant we have brought on attorney Kinika Young, a former partner at Bass Berry & Sims. We are thrilled and thankful for this opportunity to focus more time and resources on changing the lives of children in Tennessee for the better.