There’s been a lot going on in the news, and here are some of the things that I’m worried about. Let’s start with CHIP.
CHIP stands for Children’s Health Insurance Program. It is a jointly funded program, so each state shares the cost with the Federal Government. Founded in 1997, it was designed to help the working poor afford health care for their kids. This insurance is for children only and you can only get CHIP for your kids if you don’t qualify for Medicaid but you can’t afford private insurance. In other words, you need to be slightly above the poverty line to qualify for CHIP.
Congress let that funding expire as of September 30 of this year, leaving states to either carry 100% of the funding or let the program die. This is a program that gets kids physicals, gets them vaccines, or gets them to the dentist. It keeps them healthy, and personally I’m a big advocate of healthy kids. When kids are healthy and well fed, they learn better, they do better and they keep other kids around them healthier too. To me, it is worth a few extra pennies of taxes. It’s for children. It’s the responsibility of all of us to keep our children safe, and when I say our children, I mean ALL children.
Then this last Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order that instructs federal agencies to look for ways to expand the use of association health plans and broaden the definition of short term insurance. As a result, the Trump administration could make cheaper plans with less generous benefits more widely available. This undermines the system of the Affordable Care Act, where the stronger and healthier help to bolster the sicker and weaker, with the idea that someday they will also be sick and weak and they will need a robust health insurance in place to cover them in as well. That’s the way health insurance works. you pay now, when you’re well, betting that someday you will be sick.
And eventually, someday comes.
It’s come for my family. I am the mother of a chronically ill kid who was born healthy but acquired a bacteria that wrecked her little three-year-old body, causing extensive organ damage and resulting in a kidney transplant among other things. The executive order that the president signed will undermine my ability to keep her healthcare. It will make premiums go way up. It will make it increasingly difficult for my husband or me to change jobs.
Imagine what the combination of the expiration of CHIP and the Executive Order signed this week will do to the working poor, with a child who has asthma, or a peanut allergy, or was born premature.
Is it possible to convince people that it is in the interest of society to care for our sickest and weakest members, to care for the health of children? I think it is. I’m their advocate, I speak for them, that is literally what advocate means. It means, “I give voice to.” And so, I am speaking for the chronically ill kids, the working poor kids, the kids who are the sickest and the weakest among us.
I am asking you to call your Members of Congress to re-instate CHIP.
I am asking you to contact the White House to ask the president to revoke the Executive Order.
It is the job of the strong and stable to bolster the weak and the sick.
That’s what communities do, and this country is just one big community.
Please Advocate with me.