According to Mental Health America’s website, the House and Senate Health Committees had passed bills reauthorizing Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the primary health insurance for pregnant women and children whose income disqualifies them from Medicaid insurance. But, neither chamber acted to vote on the bills before the expiration of CHIP at the end of September.

By the second week in October, the Administration announced it would end Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments. These are payments that were offered to health insurers as part of the Affordable Care Act to stabilize premiums for Americans in the individual market.

Health insurance is a basic need for individuals who live with mental health conditions. We need to urge Congress to act quickly to reauthorize CHIP and to fund CSRs. For our clients who have a mental health diagnosis, health coverage is critical to maintain stability and ensure continuity of care.

 In addition, Mental Health America in October 26 issue of their newsletter, shared how “U.S. Governors indicated their state budgets are not equipped to handle a funding lapse for children and they would be forced to deny coverage and services, and eventually completely shut down their children’s health programs. Care for nine million children and pregnant women in low-income households is slipping away by the day, and we will lose opportunities to bend the trajectories of lives.”

We can’t risk sacrificing mental health and children’s programs when rates of suicide and drug overdose are increasing. There is a crisis in our nation and disrupting basic health care will jeopardize the lives of so many individuals who rely on the mental health support and children’s programs to better their futures.

At El Centro de Amistad we aim to empower individuals for a better tomorrow. Together we need to advocate for our clients’ future stability and ask Congress to reauthorize CHIP at the current eligibility for at least five years, and fully fund the CSRs.