Why Won’t Republicans Defend Health Care for 9 Million Children?

After months of back and forth, Republicans have given up their struggle to repeal and replace Obamacare. And with that loss, the GOP is now attempting to find a new strategy for decimating health care.

Already, the White House has announced plans to not participate or promote open enrollment events – a decision that is just one of many ways the administration has attempted to torpedo the marketplace. Now, Congress is battling over whether or not to reauthorize Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, funding.

Without additional funds, CHIP would leave millions of low income children uninsured. And on September 30, Congress failed to renew the program.

CHIP is an insurance program established to ensure that lower income families could access quality health care services for their children — even if their own household income wasn’t quite low enough for the family itself to enroll in Medicaid. With private insurance so expensive and Medicaid eligibility levels so minuscule, many families used CHIP as a bridge to affordable care.

Thanks to the CHIP program, the rate of children without health insurance dropped to below 7 percent. Yet despite that victory, the GOP is playing politics with reauthorizing the funds.

That means as many as 9 million children could steadily lose their health insurance coverage in the upcoming months — and the longer Congress delays, the worse the situation will get.

According to Vox, Minnesota will run out of funds by the end of October, with three other states likely to be underwater by December and ten more by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the GOP hasn’t arranged a vote, finished a bill or even decided if they want to try to shove a lost ditch Obamacare repeal inside it.

As Vox reports:

CHIP advocates have also been nervous that the program could become a battleground for the still-simmering Obamacare fight — that the program’s funding could get stuck not because of any disagreements over CHIP itself, but because it becomes the cipher for a separate health care fight. There were reports earlier this month that Republicans wanted to tuck some Obamacare repeal provisions into the program’s funding extension. ‘CHIP is not and never has been a vehicle to drag controversial provisions across,’ [March of Dimes' Cindy] Pellegrini said earlier this month. That might also explain why Senate leadership has been reluctant to set any firm timetable for taking up the CHIP extension. Hatch has said he doesn’t want to see unrelated measures attached to the bill, but once the bill gets on the Senate floor, unexpected things can happen.

It’s sadly unsurprising move from a party that believes that stripping people of affordable health insurance is the ultimate in “personal freedom.” But for the children who would lose health care resources the effects would be devastating.

According to Romper:

Right now, CHIP makes it possible for 9 million American children to access inpatient and outpatient hospital care, lab and X-ray services, and well-baby and well-child care such as vaccinations. It also includes routine checkups, visits to the doctor, prescriptions, dental care, and vision care. All of this goes a long way in giving kids a quality of life they simply would not have if they could not go to the doctor regularly simply because of their families’ income — that, of course, helps to control health care costs long-term, as well.

Still, it is not too late for Republicans to do the right thing and reauthorize the funds — and quickly. After all, it is one of the few governmental programs praised by both sides of the aisle.

“CHIP is one of the few programs left in Congress that is considered truly bipartisan. It was originally co-sponsored by [Utah Senator Orrin] Hatch, a Republican, and the late [Massachusetts Senator] Ted Kennedy,” the New Republic explains, adding, “[M]ost Democrats and Republicans agree that the program is a successful one. A huge majority of Americans—75 percent—polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation said that they thought it was “extremely” or “very” important to reauthorize CHIP before its funding ran out.”

The GOP still has enough time to do the right thing, and let’s hope they do. After all, nine million children are counting on them.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thank you

Lesa DiIorio
Past Member about a year ago

yeah why is that...???

thank you Robin...

Paulo R
Paulo Reesonabout a year ago


Paulo R
Paulo Reesonabout a year ago


Kathryn I
Kathryn I1 years ago

Republicans couldn't care less about health care for anyone but themselves and their thug families. Anyone else can go South, in their feeble, selfish "minds." Thanks for sharing.

One Heart i
Carl Rosenstock1 years ago


Adele E Zimmermann

Republicans need to change their sobriquet from "Grand Old Party" to "The Party of Simon Legree (Google him)".

Stephanie s
Stephanie Y1 years ago


Roberta G
Roberta G1 years ago

We all know that so-called "pro-life" Republicans only care for pre-born babies. But as soon as a child with a life-threatening condition is born, the Republican mantra changes to "Let 'em die!" by denying ill children needed, life-saving medical care.

Sad to say, they are just as contemptuous of post-born life (adult and children) when it comes to sane laws regulating the sale of unnecessary assault rifles. Disclosure...I support the Bill of Rights, including the 2nd amendment.

Winn A
Winn A1 years ago