Trump wants to cut $7 billion from Children’s Health Insurance Program
President Donald Trump wants to take $7 billion in funding away from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which insures 9 million children. The White House sent the plan to Congress this week asking that billions be cut from the popular program.
Trump’s total plan calls for $15 billion in cuts to spending that Congress already approved. The Washington Post reported that Trump asked for the cuts “with the hope that it will temper conservative angst over ballooning budget deficits.” Where was this concern about budget deficits when the White House and Republicans approved massive tax cuts for the rich? It seems reasonable to want to keep some federal money for a program that helps millions of children. Especially since the total cuts package only accounts for a tiny fraction of what the government spends. “If approved by Congress, the reductions would represent less than 0.4 percent of total government spending this year,” the Post reported. So the White House wants Congress to approve taking money back from CHIP instead of another program that wouldn’t impact kids for less than a percentage of government spending.
CHIP is a 20-year-old federally-funded program that provides families with health insurance. These families make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for private health insurance. CNN said CHIP families typically make no more than $62,000 for a family of four. Of the money Trump wants to be cut from CHIP, about $2 billion would come from a fund that was set up to help states that might need extra money. It seems pretty crucial to keep that money around and available to CHIP participants since you can’t always predict how many kids will need access to medical care. It’s especially important to keep this already approved money in the program since this Congress and White House already failed to do so just a few months ago. Funding ended on September 30 because Congress didn’t do its job and figure out how to pay for a program that literally helps sick children.
CHIP went unfunded for months, which was shocking. “We have never had a situation like this before,” Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, said in a press briefing. States had to start warning families that their children would lose their health insurance if Congress didn’t get it together. Parents had to beg politicians to do their damn job. Even Jimmy Kimmel spoke out about the insanity of politicians not funding a program that provides checkups, immunizations, emergency services, and other healthcare services to kids. Kimmel said it best: “I don’t know about you but I’ve had enough of this. What could be more disgusting than putting a tax cut that mostly goes to rich people ahead of the lives of children.”