After being a political football for 116 days CHIP is funded for six years
After waiting for nearly six months the Senate voted 81-15 to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program for an additional six years. The passing of the funding could not have come soon enough for the thousands of kids in Florida and around the country who rely on the health care CHIP has provided poor kids of all ages.
It is stunning that Congress let CHIP twist in the wind for an amazing 114 days. This bi-partisan legislation crafted back in 1997 by Republican Sen. Orin Hatch and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy has been passed each year without fail each year.
That was until 2017 and things began too real political. The program’s budget came up for re-authorization in September, however, things seemed to be different. The program got caught up in heated political negotiations about the future of some of the most polarizing issues in Congress: Obamacare and immigration policy.
In the fall of 2017 a GOP plan to extend the CHIP program for an additional five years. But that plan included a series of deeply partisan spending cuts to cover the costs of extending CHIP — such as slashing Obamacare programs and Medicare — and Democrats refused to support the bill.
By Monday morning, however, there was a breakthrough: Senate Democrats agreed to support a three-week budget extension of the federal budget — with the six-year extension of CHIP.
The political football game is over and CHIP is safe for another six years. It is nice to see a happy ending that will help kid’s health care with some budget safety.