While this Republican administration Congress pull us in many different dangerous directions on a daily basis, I’m going to stick with what I know best: healthcare. As you may now, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire by the end of September 2017. CHIP provides federal healthcare funding for millions of low and middle-income American children, including over 180,000 in Wisconsin alone. Unfortunately, members of Congress have repeatedly provided only short-term extensions. While in the past there has been bipartisan support for CHIP, in the current political environment that may not end up being the case.
From Hurricane Harvey, to Russia, to North Korea, to our President’s approval of neo-nazis and white supremacists, the media has their hands full and I’m concerned that this lack of focus could lead to a lack of awareness.
I strongly encourage all Americans to remain active in contacting their members ofn Congress to ensure continued support for this incredibly important program. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for Congress to pass at least a 5-year funding bill for CHIP. With recent statements from President Trump threatening to shut down the government because he cannot get funding for his wall, this becomes all that much more important. Lives are at stake if children cannot receive appropriate health insurance.
On a positive note, it was fantastic to see a number of Senate Republicans stand up for their constituents against President Trump’s desire to take away health insurance from millions. Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Arizona) stood against their party and their President to protect health insurance and for a time avoid forcing the dangerous collapse of ObamaCare. In addition to these individuals, red state Democrats including Senators Joe Manchin III (West Virginia), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Jon Tester (Montana), Claire McCaskill (Missouri) and Joe Donnelly (Indiana) stood strong for their constituents against the Senate TrumpCare legislation. I hope in the future Congressional Senators and Representatives will work together to improve our healthcare system, instead of trying to make it harder for individuals to obtain health insurance based upon partisanship fights.