ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today voiced its strong support for Congressional reauthorization of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP funding is set to expire on Sept. 30 and Congress must act now to ensure funding and protect children’s health coverage and access to needed health and mental health services.
“We strongly urge Congress to support continued and expanded access to quality evidence-based mental health care services for low-income children and youth by extending the CHIP program with a five-year reauthorization,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “An estimated 50 percent of mental illness cases start by age 14, and early access to mental health services and treatment can make a difference for a lifetime.”
CHIP provides health insurance to nearly nine million children and adolescents from low-income families who do not qualify for their state’s Medicaid program. The CHIP program means children are more likely to have a reliable source of health and dental care and to have regular preventative care visits. It also provides access to mental health care for the estimated 850,000 CHIP beneficiaries experiencing serious behavioral or emotional disorders. Today, more than 95 percent of all children in America are enrolled in health insurance coverage.
The APA sent a letter today to Congressional leadership imploring them to reauthorize this program. The APA is ready to work with members of both parties to ensure the continuation of this critical program for many of the country’s low-income children and youth.
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.