If the Children’s Health Insurance Program is reauthorized, it will be proof that Congress still has a soul.
In today’s political climate, it’s difficult to use the words “Congress” and “common ground” in the same sentence while keeping a straight face.
In our nation’s capital and in towns across America, we’ve never been more at odds with each other — socially, economically, politically. Even for two seasoned commentators, who spent years fiercely debating each other’s opposing political views on political chat shows (and even on a tour of college campuses when it was safe to do so), what we’re seeing today — pure, unbridled ferocity in many instances — is an entirely new ballgame.
Are torch-wielding white supremacists “very fine people?” Are all hard-working, dedicated journalists purveyors of “fake news?” The very fact that Americans are even entertaining these notions shows how far we have strayed from ideals that we once universally respected as the obvious truth.
At a time when we can’t seem to agree on anything, it seems that much stranger to remember there are certain issues that have always brought the left and right together, and that cannot be allowed to fall victim to our current politically chaotic state.
Chief among them: Healthcare for our nation’s children. Although the fiery debate about healthcare and entitlement programs has raged for years — and will certainly continue — as a compassionate society, our leaders have always stood behind funding healthcare for the most vulnerable Americans — our children.
What has become a traditional bipartisan effort to guard the health of innocent kids began 20 years ago with passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which, together with state Medicaid programs, provides low-cost or free health insurance to low-income children. If politics makes strange bedfellows, then legislation like CHIP is proof of it in action. Across the aisle, Congress has worked together without incident to reauthorize the program three separate times since it was enacted as part of the Balanced Budget Act in 1997.
It’s really a no-brainer for lawmakers, since CHIP is…