WASHINGTON — The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) issued the following statement calling on the Senate to swiftly act to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers.

“Now is the time for the Senate to act and build on the incredible bipartisan support from the House and protect funding for CHIP,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “CHIP is crucial for millions of children, providing needed resources that they would not otherwise be able to afford. We encourage our Senate champions to come together and protect the health of our kids.”

“Community health centers are the backbone of our nation and, without action by the Senate, are set to experience a precipitous drop in funding,” said Jeffrey B. Caballero, executive director of AAPCHO. “We cannot hinder the advances in health and access to care that health centers have made and will continue to make by cutting short their dollars when they need it most.”

Unless Congress acts, funding for CHIP expires September 30, 2015. More than 25 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander children rely on CHIP or Medicaid for their health coverage. In addition, community health centers are set to experience what is known as the “Primary Care Funding Cliff,” which could reduce funding for these safety net institutions by as much as 70 percent. APIAHF and AAPCHO support a full extension of CHIP though 2019 to ensure the program is stable and best meets the needs of vulnerable children and families.

AAPCHO and APIAHF recently called on Congress to extend CHIP in an op-ed in the Huffington Post, highlighting how important the program is to bettering the lives of AA and NHPI children and families: “Message to Congress: CHIP Matters to Our Kids.”