Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health care for 9 million children and 375,000 pregnant women in working families who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough for private insurance. Working families like Bob Cratchit’s family.
You remember Bob Cratchit. He worked for old Ebenezer Scrooge, and he didn’t make much money. Not enough money to pay for medical care for his crippled son, Tiny Tim. The Ghost of Christmas Present introduced Scrooge to Tiny Tim.
“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”
“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die… If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
Unlike old Ebenezer Scrooge, the Senate Republicans remain untouched by penitence. Along with their House colleagues, they let CHIP die on September 30, by the simple expedient of failing to vote to reauthorize the program.
While they rammed through tax cuts for millionaires last week, the Senate couldn’t find time or money to bring back CHIP. Vox reported:
“On Thursday evening, as the Senate debated the Republican tax plan, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked whether there’s “something we can do to get the children’s health insurance program done.”
“[Republican Senator Orrin] Hatch’s response, in a nutshell: Yes, we’ll fund the program, but we’re really short on money.
“’We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. And it’s got to be done the right way,’ Hatch said. ‘But the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore.'”
Really? You’ve got trillions for tax cuts but nothing for the kids?
Time to pick up the phone and make another call. Share the message on Facebook. Do what you can, because we can’t count on ghosts to change the hearts of the Scrooges in the Senate – and the House and the White House.