For many poor children — and their families — the ability to access health care has literally meant the difference between growing up strong and being plagued by chronic illness. Access to doctors, well-checks, preventative care and the ability to treat smaller illnesses and conditions before they can grow into something devastating, and all without bankrupting already struggling families, has literally been a lifesaver.
And Republicans think we need to nip that in the bud.
In the latest budget reconciliation package is a proposal to cut $400 million in bonus money used by states to find and enroll children who are likely to qualify for and benefit from CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, told Politico, “The whole purpose of the funds is to make sure that children who are eligible based on state-determined standards have an easier time — rather than a harder time — getting enrolled.”
But Republicans want to gut the funds, claiming they lead to potential enrollment fraud. Who are these children who might be “fraudulently” added to the program when they don’t belong? Children of parents who are on public assistance.
Considering both the low amount of financial assistance received from the federal government, as well as the application process that must be undergone to enroll, it’s pretty much a given that any parent on public assistance will have children that are eligible for CHIP. By delaying their entry into the program, Republicans are declaring that they would rather put children’s long term health in jeopardy in order to score political points and say they are allegedly “battling waste and fraud.”
It’s highly doubtful that this amendment will make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate. But it’s the fact that it can even be proposed in the first place that should have us all thinking about who Republicans are really trying to protect.
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