Hillary calls for extending CHIP funding
© Getty Images

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Why the national emergency? A second term may be Trump’s only shield from an indictment MORE is pushing for Congress to reauthorize the federal government's child healthcare program, lending her support to congressional Democrats looking to keep the program around.

"[D]espite strong bipartisan support, we are concerned that gridlock in Washington and unrelated disputes over the Affordable Care Act could prevent an extension of the program," Clinton and former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times on Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT
"As parents, grandparents and former legislators, we believe that partisan politics should never stand between our kids and quality health care," the pair added. 

Clinton, the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner, is calling on Congress to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program's (CHIP) funding for the next four years, labeling the approximately $10 billion expense "an investment in our children that will pay off for decades to come."

Senate Democrats have launched their own push to reauthorize the program, signing on as co-sponsors of a bill that would extend funding through 2019. Currently, the program's funding runs out at the end of September. A companion bill was also introduced in the House on Thursday.

The program, which has been around for the better part of two decades, covers about 10 million children. Some Republicans have cast CHIP as duplicative given benefits under ObamaCare, and say additional subsidies and eligibility under Medicaid make the program unnecessary.

"If CHIP is not reauthorized, more families will be hit with higher costs. As many as two million children could lose coverage altogether. Millions more will have fewer health care benefits and much higher out-of-pocket costs, threatening access to needed health services," Clinton and Frist wrote. 

"And because families without adequate insurance often miss out on preventive care and instead receive more expensive treatment in hospital emergency rooms, all of us will be likely to end up paying part of the bill," they added.

The op-ed also marks the second time in as many weeks that Clinton has jumped into a healthcare debate. Last week she tweeted that "#vaccineswork" after two possible 2016 Republican contenders, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggested that parents should have some choice on whether to immunize their children.