The Chicago Tribune (12/6/17) reports that Illinois has enough funding for its Children’s Health Insurance Program to last through September, according to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services = 250K children
The New Orleans Times-Picayune (12/6/17) reports Louisiana will exhaust funding for the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program in mid-January if Congress does not renew federal funding. = 115K Children
The Tennessean (12/6/17) reports the “uncertain future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP and called CoverKids in Tennessee, is worrying physicians and advocates as well as state officials who could be left to decide whether to use taxpayer money to continue the program if Congress fails to act. = 80K Children
The Dallas Morning News (12/6) reports Texas is considering “an accounting trick” to extend its Children’s Health Insurance Program “a few more weeks.” The Morning News says that “by not taking matching money from the federal government for kids who used to be enrolled in CHIP but are now covered by Medicaid, Texas can stretch the remaining federal funds.” State officials are exploring “contingency funding options.” The state requested an extra $90 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and expects an answer before Saturday
This is happening, and it doesn’t have to. So you know, the estate tax, applied to the monopoly guy/girl leaving behind > 11M to their lucky kids, generates 20B dollars and will be rescinded (at least in the house version). CHIP costs 15B, and insures 9 M kids (500K Hoosiers). For Orrin Hatch to declare “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is that we don’t have money anymore” is an insult to our decency as a society.
This is a non-partisan issue (77% of democrats and 63% of republicans support the program. I see these kids in my clinic EVERYDAY. They are good kids, that deserve the chance to succeed. Their success depends absolutely on being healthy. So I vaccinate them, screen them for developmental difficulties, check their hearing and vision, treat their illnesses, and get them into specialists when they need it. The Children’s Health Insurance Plan lets this happen.
Like early pre-K investments, an investment in children’s health pays off in many ways by not only by staving off potentially chronic illnesses down the road, but also enabling them to be productive members of our community.
It’s time to get our heads out of the sand, and realize that time is running out. Call your legislators and demand action.