The Fight For CHIP Could Impact Thousands of Kids
Sometimes it seems as if the political battles in Washington don't really impact us. All the shouting and arguing make us want to just tune them out. I admit that I do that from time to time too. But sometimes a hot-button political issue hits close to home. And for me and my family, that is the CHIP program.
CHIP is the Children's Health Insurance Program. It provides federal funding for insurance programs for hundreds of thousands of families across the nation. Many, but not all, are low income. In Iowa, that program is better known as Hawk-i, or Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa. Several years ago due to the rising cost of health care, it got too expensive for Holly and me to have the kids on either one of our health care plans. So a friend suggested we apply for the Hawk-i program. We did not qualify financially for free healthcare but we were approved for the program. We pay $40 a month for all three of our kids to be on health insurance. It's not a cut-rate plan either. It is a life saver for us financially and our kids depend on the coverage. But the funding ended last year and Congress has yet to approve more funding through 2018.
It's not because they don't like the program. CHIP has bi-partisan support in Congress for funding. No one wants to take away health insurance for kids. But they continue to hold the CHIP program hostage for their own political gains. I'm not going to single out either party because I know both are to blame. They say they'll vote for CHIP if the other side will vote for this or that issue. Are you serious? You would have thousands of kids lose their health care coverage just because you didn't get something specific you wanted? This is the part of politics I don't get and don't like. Compromise on issues not involving the health and LIFE of citizens.
If the CHIP funding isn't included in a spending bill soon, the funding could run out. Estimates here in Iowa say that the money for Hawk-i could run out by March. I asked them what happens to my kids when the money is gone. They said that they could be dropped from coverage. It's a scary thought made even more frightening by the fact I have no control over it. I have to place my faith in politicians. God help us all.