In his conference call last week, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said the CHIP program (Children’s Health Insurance Program) in Ohio has been extended until maybe March with cuts Gov. John Kasich will take from other programs.
Brown said he talked to Kasich about CHIP, but didn’t offer detail about which programs might be impacted, or how much those targeted programs would be cut to keep CHIP functional for a couple more months, pending congressional refunding. CHIP in Ohio serves over 200,000 children each year.
For a glimpse of what would happen in Ohio if CHIP isn’t refueled, look to Alabama, the first state in the nation where CHIP funding has run out. Alabama officials are ready to abandon thousands of children as soon as January 1, with thousands more to suffer the same fate soon thereafter. So much for family values, where family values is bedrock Bible thinking, and the young and vulnerable at the center of Jesus’ teachings are to be protected—because that pleases God.
Senator-elect Doug Jones, D-Ala., said it was “unacceptable” for his future colleagues in the Senate not to renew CHIP, which provides health insurance for 150,000 children.
Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, Brown called on Congress to extend funding for CHIP, known as Healthy Start in Ohio, for five years rather than the current three-month extension proposed by Congressional leadership. Brown’s bipartisan bill to extend funding for CHIP for five years passed the Senate Finance Committee in October. But Senate leadership has yet to take up the bill on the Senate floor, his office said.
“This body passed massive, permanent tax cuts for corporations, but can’t give families more certainty than three months?” Brown grumbled. “It’s past time for folks in Congress with taxpayer-funded health care, to do their jobs and extend CHIP, so families don’t pay the price,” said Brown.
CHIP is a joint state-federal health insurance program created in 1997 with help from Hillary Clinton. It’s designed for low to moderate income children and pregnant women who are not Medicaid eligible.