Reauthorization of CHIP
On September 30th, while Senate Republicans were discussing tax cuts for the wealthy, the Child Health Insurance Program ran out of funding. Parents have already started to receive letters explaining that their child will longer have healthcare by February. This is unacceptable. The fact that a uncontroversial issue, like promoting the health of children, has been pushed off and ignored shows the carelessness and apathy of Republicans.
Roughly 4 million children are at risk of losing their insurance. In some cases, even pregnant women will lose their coverage. From 1997, when CHIP was implemented, to 2012, millions of children gained coverage and the uninsured rate for children fell from 14% to 7%. There’s even a correlation between CHIP coverage and childhood mortality rate. A national study found that a 10% increase in eligibility for CHIP and Medicaid resulted in a 3% decrease in childhood mortality. This program has been a tremendous success.
But for the politicians in D.C., this is just a part of the political game. For the 223,000 Ohio children, and 9 million American children, this is a matter of life and death.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted out today, “Congress must renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program so the parents of the nine million children who are covered by CHIP can know their children’s health care is secure”.
What Mitch doesn’t tell you is that he’s had to power to authorize funding for months now. Instead of putting together a bill that would have bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, he’s been holding CHIP hostage by attempting to tie in huge spending cuts into a reauthorization bill.