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Internists Support CHIP Renewal, Urge Reauthorization of Key Federal Health Programs Amid Government Re-Opening

Statement attributable to:
Jack Ende, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (January 22, 2018) —The American College of Physicians (ACP) is relieved that Congress passed a new continuing resolution to end the federal government shutdown, and by their decision to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) until 2023 to support more than 8.9 million children enrolled. Since its inception in 1997, CHIP, together with Medicaid, has helped to reduce the number of uninsured children by a remarkable 68 percent. CHIP has a proven track record of providing high quality, cost-effective coverage for low-income children and pregnant women in working families.

However, the new short-term continuing resolution leaves much of Congress’ work unfinished. As Congress works to craft budget legislation before the new continuing resolution runs out on February 8, we ask them to make funding critical health care programs a priority. Congress needs to reauthorize the National Health Service Corps, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program and Community Health Centers – all of which provide much needed resources for vulnerable and underserved communities across the country. We are also concerned that the continuing resolution does not include any increase in the budget-caps for non-defense spending, including all of the health programs that are funded through appropriations.

Additionally, although there appears to be an understanding that the Senate will vote on bills to protect Dreamers and offer them permanent legal residency, including citizenship; that is far from a guarantee.  ACP calls on Congress to pass legislation, and for President Trump to sign into law, protecting Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Every day that goes by without a permanent solution puts Dreamers at risk of losing jobs or having to drop out of school, this includes medical students and physicians in training. Many medical students and residents are DACA recipients, and enacting legislation that will allow them to remain in school, residency training or practice will only benefit patients and our entire health care system.

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 152,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org