REMARKS AS PREPARED
December 5, 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:
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center leadership
Doctors and care providers who have welcomed us today, we are so grateful for the amazing care they provide every day for children
Representative McLain for joining me today
CHIP has a long history of providing federal funding so that children across America can visit doctors, get medications, vaccinations, 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 come from all over Oregon, from all communities and all backgrounds.
Unfortunately, federal funding for CHIP expired almost 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.
Children like nine-month-old Marian, who was born on Valentine’s Day with a hole in her heart.
All of Marian’s medical care has been provided via CHIP. She’s not out of the woods yet--she may need surgery in the future. CHIP coverage provides the stability her family needs.
Her mother Nancy told me that without CHIP, their family would be crushed and devastated.
And without Congressional action to reauthorize CHIP funding, thousands of families face these crushing, devastating situations.
Thousands more face difficult everyday choices between check-ups and bills.
Federal 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 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.
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.
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.
I also want to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Congresswoman Bonamici for their advocacy on the ground on this issue in Washington.
And thank you all for joining me in stepping up for the future of Oregon.