REMARKS AS PREPARED
December 13, 2017
Hello, I’m Governor Kate Brown.
I’m here to highlight the work funded by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, otherwise known as CHIP.
Thank you to:
Eugene Pediatric Associates
Trillium Community Health Plan
Lane County health and education staff and leadership
Doctors and care providers who have welcomed us today, we are so grateful for the amazing care they provide every day for our children
CHIP has a long history of providing federal funding so that children across America can visit doctors, get medications they need, and undergo treatments.
Roughly one in ten Oregon children get the care they need through CHIP.
Think about that number for a moment.
Those one-in-ten children come from all over Oregon, from all communities and all backgrounds.
Not only does CHIP provide health insurance coverage for children, it provides financial stability for many working families who depend on the program to cover their children’s health care.
Unfortunately, federal funding for CHIP expired over two months ago due to Congressional inaction.
This month, Oregon will be one of the first states to lose CHIP funding.
That means over 80,000 children and pregnant women could lose access to the doctors and medications they need.
I have directed the Oregon Health Authority to continue coverage through the end of April for children and families who are at risk of losing access to health care.
This allows us to continue to provide the care these kids and families rely on until Congress makes the right decision.
Last week, I met Diego, who is 8 years old. He has a condition that requires him to use hearing aids and see an audiologist.
As he grows, he is going to need to get new hearing aids, and his condition will need to be monitored. Without that help, he would not be able to function at school.
Right now, CHIP enables Diego to grow and ensures his family doesn’t constantly struggle.
Diego’s family needs to be able to count on that coverage, not just for the next two weeks, but for the rest of his childhood.
Our congressional leaders have an opportunity to unite, put aside political gamesmanship and fund the CHIP program.
Unfortunately Congress is focused on tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected.
Here in Oregon we’re focused on the people, not the powerful.
That’s why 98 percent of our children have health care coverage.
Thanks to progress we made this last legislative session, 100 percent will have access to health care. We cannot and will not go backwards.
It is up to us as Oregonians to stand up for our children.
Because children’s health care is too important to play political games with.
And because everyone deserves access to healthcare.
I am so grateful to the families that are here who are willing to share difficult moments they have faced not just as parents and children, but caregivers and patients.
Thank you all for joining me in stepping up for the future of Oregon.