By Donna Sweeney, ONS Director of Government Affairs
On November 3, 2017, the House of Representatives passed HR 3922, the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program for an additional five years. The act also reauthorizes public health programs. Previous funding for the CHIP program had expired September 30, 2017.
ONS submitted a letter to the House leadership October 19, 2017, urging leaders to expedite a House floor vote in support of the bill to provide continued healthcare coverage to more than 8.9 million vulnerable children, particularly those with pediatric cancer. ONS recognizes that oncology nurses address the physical, emotional, and financial challenges these children and their families face throughout their diagnosis and treatment. ONS also expressed the importance of healthcare coverage for children, especially considering cancer is the second leading cause of death in children nationwide.
Although the House vote was contentious due to issues related to the budgetary accommodations to pay for the bill, they reached bipartisan agreement on the CHIP reauthorization policy and are currently identifying offset measures to pay for it. ONS will continue to advocate for its swift enactment into law.