After government shutdown scare, lawmakers reauthorize CHIP program for vulnerable children
How nations treat their most vulnerable, often children and the elderly, reflects their values. So while Congress battled over whether to revive American government—and did so after a brief shutdown—millions of Americans wondered whether their children’s health would be compromised in the shuffle. People of various backgrounds hoped that the bi-partisan support that kept the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) alive thus far would continue.
CHIP supports children in lower and middle socioeconomic families and has helped pregnant women too. Given the shutdown and the reasonable fears it inspired, NPR reported two hypothetical game plans by Linda Nablo, who oversees Virginia’s CHIP. Nablo penned two different letters to send out to families based on what lawmakers did.
In the first letter, she would have had the unenviable duty of informing families that government did not extend CHIP after funds technically expired in September. She would have shared that the state’s holdover funds were exhausted, and because of these occurrences the program would be shuttered. Their insurance would be gone.
In the second letter, Nablo would reassure the families that federal funding ensured the program’s continuation. Because on Monday Congress agreed to end the governmental shutdown and also reauthorized CHIP for six more years, vulnerable families have one less issue to fret about.
“It’s over and the program is safe, and we can all go back to our normal jobs,” Nablo told NPR.
“This action ends months of anxiety and worry for the hard-working families who rely on CHIP for life-saving health care,” Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA, a health-care advocacy group in Washington, D.C, told The Hill. “States — some of which had already sent notices to families warning of looming CHIP enrollment freezes — can now set about restoring trust that CHIP will be there for kids and their families.”