Tester urges CHIP reauthorization to protect ‘our most valuable resource’

Senator touts program’s success in Montana on Senate Floor

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester took to the Senate Floor today, urging his colleagues to support a plan by Montana Senator Max Baucus that will extend and improve the popular Children's Heath Insurance Program (CHIP).

Under Baucus' plan, CHIP will extend health insurance coverage to nearly 10 million low-income children across the country.  CHIP currently ensures health care coverage for more than 14,000 Montana children in need and 6.6 million children nationwide.

"Montanans know this is a program that works," Tester said on the Senate Floor, adding that as President of the Montana Senate he pushed for full state funding of CHIP and expanded enrollment in the program by 3,000 children per year.  "It is tough out there.  Millions of children lack health insurance despite their parents' hard work and efforts to keep their heads above water.  Many families cannot afford health insurance, despite the fact that they have jobs."

During his speech touted the program's benefits.  He said CHIP:

  • Keeps     kids in school more.
  • Results     in healthier, more productive members of society.
  • Reduces     the number of overall emergency room visits, therefore lowering the cost     of health care for other Americans.

"With this reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program, we as a country are investing in our most valuable resource—our children," Tester said.

Over the last 10 years, CHIP has reduced the number of low-income, uninsured children by one-third.  Baucus' CHIP extension will cover more than another third of all uninsured children in America.