Congress must fund Children's Health Insurance Program

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. speaks to the media Thursday Jan. 4 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington

This year has been one of stark partisanship, with rhetoric from both sides of the aisle seeking to stress differences between Democrats and Republicans.

"We need the leadership of our Congress to get with the program and to wake up to the needs of children", he said. I see our responsibility and mission as legislators - and the core goal of our Constitution - as ensuring children have safe spaces, full bellies and good health.

Funding for CHIP expired more than 100 days ago, after Congress failed to reauthorize the program.

How could spending money on children's health care result in net savings in the long run?

Cornyn has previously promised funding for CHIP was imminent.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is planning to bring a six-year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the House floor, The Hill reports. Some states, including Minnesota, are using state dollars to fund the program. But officials say some states could start running out of money as early as next week.

Last month's temporary budget fix, H.R. 1370, also provided $550 million for community health centers that serve more than 25 million, many in struggling communities - enough to last only through March 31. But former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who strongly supported the program as First Lady when it was enacted in 1997, put the onus on him to advance legislation. The Senate has not passed a CHIP bill. So what's the holdup?

"Families across America had to start 2018 anxious that their kids wouldn't have health care", she tweeted.

The answer makes my blood boil: It is a pawn in cynical political machinations. It covers about 9 million children, including 2 million in California. Instead of taking up this bipartisan bill, they're holding it hostage to try to win concessions in budget negotiations. For Ohio's vulnerable children, that's an upside of sorts, since the program will continue even if CHIP money runs out. CBO has now estimated its cost assuming that it's reauthorized for a full ten years. It took the lives of 63,000 people just in 2016. The group practice hasn't changed any scheduling for CHIP patients, but he said "families are terrified" about the program having to be terminated.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a Madison, Wis., pediatrician and vice president of the state's chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, worries that many parents will be surprised if their children are suddenly without coverage. That is our responsibility. Nine million American children are waiting.

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