It’s been 122 days since the Republican congress decided to take sick people hostage, and allowed funding for community health centers and the Children’s Health Insurance Program to lapse. While they did eventually fund CHIP for six years in the last short-term budget agreement, plenty of the kids who are keeping their insurance will have no place to use it. Those kids, and 9 million veterans, are part of the 27 million people around the country who rely on community health centers.
The effects of this kind of malign neglect and hostage taking are clear in the aftermath of the CHIP fight. Republicans are doing very real and very serious damage with it.
The saga came with a cost. Even though no child in the country lost health-care coverage during the months-long CHIP stalemate, the political brinkmanship left a heap of bureaucratic and psychological debris.Its effect portends what could happen with other government programs if Congress continues without a long-term budget plan, passing temporary fix after temporary fix, while social programs continue to hang in the distance.“There was harm and foul in this limbo period,” said Jim Carnes, policy director of Alabama Arise, a local advocacy organization. “Those who contend that there wasn’t do not appreciate the burden it put on working parents with children with health-care needs. They don’t understand how unfair the process was to say, ‘We’re going to toy around with your children’s health insurance for a while and see what comes out of it.’ ”
Right now—right this minute—people who have only community health centers to turn to for their health care (including CHIP families) are being toyed with for strictly political purposes. That’s while Congress preens and postures for the “pro-life” community holding pointless votes on unconstitutional abortion bans.
No Republican is pro-life. Not while they’re holding millions of actually, living, breathing human beings hostage.
Jam the phone lines of House and Senate Republicans. Call (202) 224-3121, and tell them to stop holding people’s health care hostage.