Bilirakis Champions Health Care for Millions of Americans
Washington, DC: Today the House passed an important bill Congressman Bilirakis has shepherded through the legislative process over the past few months. This health care package, the CHAMPION HEALTHY KIDS Act, reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Community Health Centers program and other health care programs. It extends CHIP, which according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) provides healthcare for approximately 9 million children, for an additional five years. This essential bill also includes language Congressman Bilirakis introduced to allow states to reinstate their CHIP Buy-In programs, which according to state officials, will help 12,000 kids in Florida. Through these programs, parents who make too much money for their children to be eligible for CHIP can buy a similar policy at a discounted, affordable rate. Additionally, the bill includes language to strengthen Medicaid programs in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as they are recovering from Hurricane Maria. It is important to make sure every child has access to quality health care.
The healthcare package also includes legislation Congressman Bilirakis introduced, which reauthorizes funding for Community Health Centers for the next two years at a level of $3.6 billion per year. Community Health Centers provide high quality, comprehensive health care to over 25 million Americans, including 7 million children and 300,000 Veterans. In the 12th Congressional district alone, thousands of patients receive primary care, dental, and mental health services at Premier in Pasco, Suncoast Community Health Centers in Hillsborough and Community Health Centers of Pinellas.
“This package will ensure continued access to affordable, high quality health care for millions of Americans, many of whom are children,” stated Congressman Bilirakis. “These programs are a prime example of what is working in our healthcare system and they offer a cost-effective framework for other needed healthcare reforms. These issues are too important to be used as a political football, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill before the funding for these valuable programs is exhausted,” he added.