Alfred J. “Chip” Chiplin, Jr., Senior Policy Attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, and managing attorney of our Washington, DC office, would have been 74 on September 3rd. Chip’s life was too short but his memory, the vigor of his beliefs, and the valor of his actions live on.
Chip’s impact was wide and deep. Over his 40-year career as an attorney, Chip’s dedication, intelligence, and compassion brought help to myriad individuals, families, and all Medicare beneficiaries. He worked tirelessly for systemic change. As a key architect of the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s ongoing commitment to ensure Medicare access for people with chronic, debilitating, and long-term conditions, Chip’s influence is still felt in everything we do. Among his many accomplishments, he improved the lives of thousands of people with special needs by helping to expand access to Durable Medical Equipment under Medicare Part B. He fought to improve discharge planning, which was particularly lacking for people with disabilities; he was an original editor of the Center’s Medicare Handbook, updated and published annually since 2000.
The Center continues to keep Chip’s vision, spirit, and passion alive through the Alfred J. Chiplin, Jr. Advocacy Award and Fellowship. Like Chip, this program, supports the advancement of civility in society and social justice for all – goals that are as relevant today as ever. The COVID pandemic has highlighted the ongoing, urgent need to address the core challenges that Chip cared about most deeply. Every day, we witness more and more examples of how a lack of health equity and systemic racism continue to create barriers to quality care for our nation’s most vulnerable populations. The Center is committed to combatting these wrongs and to fighting for universal health justice.
Chip brought his full humanity to the work that he loved. As an ordained minister, a choral singer, pianist, and poet, he graced us with his light and effortless smile. He treated everyone he encountered with respect and kindness. His spirit is captured in his own words, in a poem he called Embrace and Dream ―
When you consider the sky,
reach with all you have,
give of your very best,
and taste your dreams.
Chip lived a life that was true to his words. In honor of his birthday, we take a moment to remember all that he gave us, and to remind ourselves to give our very best, as Chip did every day.
Watch below to hear reflections from Executive Director Judy Stein about Chip’s legacy in conversation with current Chiplin Medicare & Health Policy Fellow Cinnamon St. John. Ms. St. John’s work with the Center focuses on issues facing individuals with longer-term conditions, health equity matters – especially for people receiving care in facilities – and continued concerns regarding quality care and health disparities exposed by the COVID pandemic.