I received an email from Angus King, U.S. Senator from the great state of Maine. It has nothing to do with climate change, but I think it’s so important that any help I can provide is time well spent. Please read, please share, please help.
Friend, even in this partisan political climate, there used to be issues on which we could all come together to do what’s right – such as protecting health care for children. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Congress had a September 30, 2017, deadline to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – which has a two-decade history of bipartisan support – and we blew right through it. We allowed the program to expire. CHIP helps nearly 9 million children get access to health insurance – including more than 23,000 in Maine. Families count on it to pay for checkups, chronic care and emergency health services.
While we continue to talk about how to fund CHIP, states are running out of money. Parents are opening letters warning them that their kids’ coverage is in limbo. And soon, states could stop enrolling new kids in the program while they wait on us to get our act together.
This is shameful. I venture to say that if the children of senators were covered by CHIP, we would have found a way to meet that September deadline. Fortunately, we can still make this right. Will you join me in calling on Congress to fund CHIP immediately?
The expiration of CHIP is not something that snuck up on us. We could see this coming, and we don’t know anything now that we didn’t know in the middle of August or September. But during the months when we should have been acting to pass funding for CHIP, congressional leadership was consumed with pushing through a partisan $1.5 trillion tax cut. CHIP funding would cost just a fraction of that. This is an outrage entirely of our own making.
Parents of sick children should not have to spend their time and energy coming to Capitol Hill and begging their representatives to do the right thing. We were elected to stand up for all kids and families in this country. The kids covered by CHIP are our kids. Each day we fail to fund these essential services, we are abdicating our responsibilities and failing children across our country.
We can fix this if we act quickly – and I’m hoping you’ll join me in speaking up on behalf of kids covered by CHIP.
This couldn’t be more important. Thank you for adding your voice.