Dear Editor,
Who out there with deep pockets is lobbying Congress for our children? How much bribery money will it take for our representatives in Congress to step up and protect the healthcare of our children?
Federal funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was allowed to expire on September 30th and must now be renewed before Thanksgiving to prevent state CHIP programs from completely running out of money. CHIP provides coverage to about 150,000 Alabama children statewide. That, combined with missed deadlines for community health center funding, could leave thousands of vulnerable Alabamians in trouble.
The program insures children (and, in some states, pregnant women) whose families’ incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid. Benefits vary by state, but each covers basic services like shots, doctor visits, and prescription medication. Currently, about 5.7 million people are enrolled in CHIP nationwide.
Bills to renew CHIP’s funding have been introduced in the House and Senate:
The Senate bill, the KIDS Act, has bipartisan support and is ready to be voted on and passed.
The House GOP has proposed a bill (the “HEALTHY KIDS” Act) that would fund CHIP by cutting more than $5 billion from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.
“This delay is inexcusable,” Jim Carnes, policy director for Alabama Arise said. “They had every opportunity to meet the deadline.”
While the CHIP program is believed to be supported by our local congressman, Mike Rogers, we must contact his office to stress the importance of its renewal without slashing other healthcare benefits. Please contact Rep. Rogers at (256) 236-5655 (Anniston Office).
Karen Barwick
Pell City, Alabama