Daines Votes to keep Government Open and Protect 24,000 Montana Children

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today voted to protect vital health care services for 24,000 Montana children provided under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and to avoid a government shutdown.

“It’s ridiculous that we are on the verge of a government shutdown over controversial immigration legislation,” said Daines. “We have a funding bill that will keep the government open and reauthorize CHIP for six years, which impacts 24,000 kids in Montana. Now is not the time to back down. I hope my colleagues will join me and vote to keep the government open and fund CHIP.”

Today’s majority vote allowed for the funding bill passed by the U.S. House to be considered in the Senate.

The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow to end debate on the funding bill, which will take 60 votes to do. If the Senate meets the 60-vote threshold, a final vote on passage of the funding bill would follow.

Statements of Support:

“Maintaining access to essential health care services for children through the CHIP program is absolutely essential in the state of Montana, as it is across the country.  We applaud Senator Danies efforts on this bi-partisan solution to extend coverage for the CHIP program to ensure our youngest patients continue to have access to the care they need.”  —John Goodnow, CEO, Benefis Health System

We are grateful to Senator Daines for not only championing the 6-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance  Program (CHIP) but also encouraging bi-partisan support for children and families. A 6-year extension of CHIP provides longterm stability of pediatric care in Montana; supports the mission of Montana Children’s  Medical Center and the physicians affiliated with Montana Children’s specialties,” –Pamela Robertson, CEO, and President, Kalispell Regional Healthcare.

“We thank Senator Daines for standing up for Montana kids and our patients. His support and that of his Senate colleagues provide reassurance to those families who rely on CHIP for vital and preventive healthcare. Long-term reauthorization ensures that Montana children will have a brighter, healthy future.” — Dean French, MD, CEO, Community Medical Center, Missoula, Montana


Today, Daines spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate, urging his colleagues to support long-term CHIP reauthorization. 

While on the Senate floor, Daines read a story about Jaxon, a boy from Helena, MT who receives life-saving care from CHIP to treat his Leigh syndrome.

CHIP provides vital health services for over eight million children and 370,000 pregnant women across the United States each year.

Since CHIP’s creation, the number of uninsured children has fallen by one-third. Today, the number of uninsured children is the lowest on record.

Montana counties with the highest number of children enrolled in CHIP:

1.         Yellowstone – 3,288 children

2.         Flathead – 2,950 children

3.         Gallatin – 2,765 children

4.         Missoula – 2,284 children

5.         Cascade – 1,325 children