Senator Bennet pushes for funding extensions of health programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet issued the following statements in support of extending funding for three health programs that are critical to Coloradans. The deadline to extend funding is September 30.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was essential in reducing the percent of uninsured children to an all-time low of 2.5 percent in Colorado. Across the state, the program covers nearly 90,000 children and about 600 pregnant women.

“We must immediately extend funding for CHIP—a program that is critical to Colorado’s children and expecting mothers,” Bennet said. “Colorado should not have to create a contingency plan because Congress cannot get its act together; that is a waste of time and money for the state that may lead to gaps in care for patients. CHIP is too essential to too many families for us to shirk our duty.”

Colorado’s community health centers are set to lose 70 percent of funding if Congress does not act to extend funding this week. Bennet sent a letter to the Senate HELP Committee earlier this month calling for immediate action to extend funding. He has visited several community health centers in 2017, including Summit County Community Care Clinic, People's Clinic of Clinica Family Health, and Denver Health, among others. Colorado's 20 community health centers are on track to serve more than one million medically-underserved Coloradans within 20 years.

“In community health centers across Colorado, I have seen firsthand the benefits they provide to patients who would not have access to health care otherwise,” Bennet said. “The uncertainty this funding cliff is creating will only grow worse if we fail to extend the program this week. I will continue to advocate for CHCs until they have the resources and support they need to best serve their communities.”

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program provides voluntary home visiting services to at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children. In 2016, federal grants from the MIECHV program made possible 37,704 home visits to 7,219 parents of families—servicing 12 counties across Colorado. Bennet cosponsored a bill to reauthorize the program earlier this month.

 “The MIECHV program has improved the health of our children in Colorado’s rural counties,” Bennet said. “We must extend funding for this program so expecting and new parents can continue to receive resources and training to better support their families.”