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NEA President: Congress should put children first and reauthorize CHIP

9 million American children rely on CHIP for their health care

WASHINGTON - September 29, 2017 -

Today, the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employees organization with over 3 million members at every level of education, calls on Congress to swiftly reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides crucial health coverage to children in families who do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private coverage options available to them. This week, Congress left Washington without reauthorizing CHIP, whose funding expires on September 30.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“For children across our nation, having access to quality, affordable health care is tantamount to their success in school, and our success as a country. Instead of allowing politics to delay action on continuing to provide coverage for 9 million children who rely on CHIP, Congress needs to come together quickly, as they have many times before, to reauthorize the CHIP program. Ensuring that our children have health insurance is something on which Democrats and Republicans should agree.

“Educators know that quality health care is essential to the well-being of children, families, and schools. Children without health insurance do not have access to regular checkups and doctor visits, which ultimately leads to higher rates of illness and absenteeism that undermine their ability to learn and succeed in school. States can use CHIP funds to provide health services directly to students within the school. That means prior to the beginning of each school year, districts commit to the necessary staff and contracted services—for example, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, occupational therapists, school nurses, and mental health professionals.

“It is unthinkable that Congress is allowing CHIP funding to expire. Our nation’s students deserve Congress to swiftly correct this mistake.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez