If you can’t speak out for sick kids, quit calling yourself ‘pro-life’

By Robert Mann

It’s hard to find a government program that does more to save innocent lives than the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP and its Louisiana incarnation, LaCHIP, are shining examples of effective, pro-life government initiatives.

Louisiana’s Republican senators and congressional representatives tell us they are pro-life. But the way they have responded to Congress’ recent failure to renew funding for CHIP suggests they are just pro-birth. Once the kids pop out, they’re on their own.

That’s a fair conclusion based on the conspicuous silence of our delegation after Congress allowed the program to expire Sept. 30. Efforts to renew it for another five years are going nowhere after committees in both houses offered different funding plans. It’s not clear when (or if) Congress will resolve those differences.

The program pays for life-saving health care for 8.9 million young Americans, including 121,000 in Louisiana. Since 2003, because of LaCHIP, the percentage of uninsured Louisiana children has plunged from 11.1 percent to 3.8 percent.

The CHIP program supports a range of health services for children 19 and younger, including primary, preventative and emergency care. It also covers immunizations, prescriptions drugs and hospitalization. It saves lives. This should be the easiest government program to fund. And it was until Republicans in Congress let it expire.

Some states have more resources and, therefore, more time before their money dries up. When the federal portion of CHIP vanishes in February 2018, Louisiana must find an extra $31 million — near the end of a fiscal year — to keep the program alive. That means deep cuts to other vital health care services. And in the years after that, the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals says, Louisiana will need an additional $112 million to continue coverage.

Even if Congress restores funding for CHIP, it’s an outrage that so many families with sick kids are agonizing over whether they might end up buried in medical bills or, worse, be forced to forego life-saving treatment.

Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.

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2 Responses to If you can’t speak out for sick kids, quit calling yourself ‘pro-life’

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    A friend from Ecuador once told me that we lifelong residents of the U. S. with limited international travel experience have no concept of what poverty really is. People from other countries could say the same, including the “largest democracy in the world”, India. When I asked him how it is possible to live with the poverty he described, he said the only way is to accept and ignore it.

    Do we want to become that kind of society? Apparently, some of our elected officials think we should.

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    • Michael Wade says:

      I’d say that most of Louisiana’s legislative delegation is dedicated to legislation that cuts spending on things that have a public benefit, such as programs for working people of all hues who are also poor. But there’s always money for more guns, corporate subsidies and so forth. Too bad more of these working people don’t vote,or don’t vote for someone besides the incumbents.

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