INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly 100,000 Hoosier children are set to have their healthcare taken away from them in the coming months after Republicans in Washington like Congressman Messer and Congressman Rokita let the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expire.
CHIP is a popular program that provides health insurance for nine million children nationwide, and is responsible for the uninsured rate of American children falling to 4.5% by 2015—a nearly 10% drop since the bill’s 1997 passage. The program was routinely reauthorized with bipartisan majorities until it expired on September 30.
Now that Republican majorities in Congress have failed to make an effort to renew the program before it expired, however, CHIP funding for many states is poised to run out in the coming months. States will either have to pay for the program themselves or let many kids go without health insurance. In Indiana alone, roughly 99,000 children relied on CHIP for their insurance by the end of 2016, a number that has increased dramatically over the last several years.
“If action is not taken soon to restore the funding, the effects will become obvious in schools across the country,” the Washington Post wrote, “with many of the children in the program unable to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick and other services.”
Despite the program’s importance, Congressman Rokita, Congressman Messer and their Republican colleagues were apparently too consumed by their relentless and failed efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act to keep CHIP going past Saturday. The GOP failed to even attempt to keep the program alive before the deadline, starting the clock on states’ dwindling funding pools.
“Congressman Rokita and Congressman Messer have been so concerned with dismantling our nation’s health care system for partisan gain that they didn’t even blink before allowing health insurance for 100,000 of the youngest and most vulnerable Hoosiers to start expiring,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Are Republicans too irresponsible to understand that having majorities in Congress means they have the duty to govern and protect vital programs like CHIP? Or is it that they’re too heartless to care?”