Who Runs The Government Matters For Reasons Other Than National Security. Here Is Just One.

Back in 1997, after the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was signed into law by Bill Clinton, some right-wingers were placing the blame on Hillary (surprise, surprise). But by all objective accounts, Mrs. Clinton did play a significant role as First Lady in getting her husband’s administration to not only push for the bill, but stay with a more generous version of it, after House Republicans had cut down its funding (surprise, surprise). Ted Kennedy, who was the leading legislative force behind the CHIP bill, gave Hillary credit for providing “invaluable help, both in the fashioning and the shaping of the program.” 

Today, according to the government, 8.4 million kids are enrolled in CHIP, which covers children whose parents make too much money to qualify for regular Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. The program provides qualified kids with health coverage and their parents with, well, some peace of mind. CHIP is funded by both the states and the federal government and likely would be insuring even more kids today if George W. Bush had not vetoed an expansion of the program in 2007 (surprise, surprise). Why did he veto it? Did he hate children? Nah. The bill contained a tax increase on cigarettes to pay for the expansion and Bush told Congress that he “was willing to work with its leadership to find any additional funds necessary to put poor children first, without raising taxes.” In other words, Bush put children second and lower cigarette taxes first (surprise, surprise).

As you can theoretically see, it matters who manages the government, both in Congress and the White House. Barack Obama signed an expansion of the program in 2009, which helped more children and pregnant women. The program was renewed again in 2015 with overwhelming bipartisan support (although there was a “discussion draft” created by right-wingers that was designed to reduce the number of those covered). But it is worth noting three of the eight Republicans in the Senate who opposed that renewal in 2015Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio. Jeff Sessions. All three have a Trump connection. Cruz and Rubio infamously ran against him and more infamously support Trump despite saying horrible things about him. And Sessions was the first big-timer to legitimate Trump and has been his most prominent defender on Capitol Hill.

There were also 33 Republicans in the House who opposed the renewal of CHIP. One of them was Jim Bridenstine, who essentially represents Tulsa, Oklahoma, in Congress. Bridenstine recently blasted Speaker Paul Ryan for not supporting Trump: “If Paul Ryan isn’t for Trump,” he tweeted, “then I’m not for Paul Ryan.” Well, we all know that Trump has repeatedly and forcefully vowed to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, helps “strengthen coverage for children and financing for CHIP.” Again, it matters very much who creates legislation, votes on it, and signs it into law—or doesn’t.

In the case of CHIP, most Americans may not care about who did what and who didn’t. Most folks don’t need the program and probably don’t know anyone who does. Thus, it is an abstraction, something that doesn’t necessarily matter all that much. Sometimes, though, people need a reminder of how much programs like CHIP matter to their fellow citizens and who it was out there fighting for them. Here is one such reminder:



  1. middlechildwoman

     /  October 22, 2016

    That video made me teary-eyed. That’s just one reason I’m with Hillary…..and I always have been.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It hit me that way, too. I’m sure there are countless stories out there just like it. Wish we heard more about them, but Trump’s awfulness takes up all the time.


  2. King Beauregard

     /  October 23, 2016

    Then there’s this story of how Hillary got directly involved in some ordinary shmoe’s health coverage battle, for no reason other than he needed her help:

    I say all the tales of Hillary being a Machiavellian conniving shrew are irreconcilable with this man’s story. And it’s not just him; the BLM mothers all report that she was genuinely open and warm to them, and was genuine in wanting to help them.

    We’re not going to be electing Lady MacBeth, we’re going to be electing Leslie Knope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Like all of us, Hillary has a few blind spots. But she seems to me to be a fundamentally good person who sees public policy as a vehicle to improve the lives of those who would get run over otherwise. And that opinion comes from someone who didn’t start out as a Hillary fan. Studying her, watching her, has changed my mind. I am increasingly impressed. Some on the far left in this country have been disgustingly critical of her and have adopted the same kind of cynicism the alt-right possesses. Shameful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know a capable and assiduous young man, about 18, who has a dental problem that is almost certain to cap his progress in life, despite his ambitions. His front teeth are badly misaligned. This, to my mind, is a serious problem that could well be fixed by a program like CHIP, and ought to be. Fixing it at an early age would have been much cheaper and more effective at an early age.

    I found an account of a CHIP program experience that relates to this. It said,

    Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease—five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Dental care is an often overlooked but critical component of comprehensive health care for children. Pain and suffering due to untreated dental disease can lead to problems in speaking, eating, and learning.

    It also said this,

    In 2010, the health reform bill known as the Affordable Care Act required that all insurance plans to be offered through new health insurance exchanges starting in 2014 include oral care for children, and prohibited these insurers from charging out of pocket expenses for preventive pediatric oral health services. These two new requirements alone will give millions of children financial access to dental health services, many for the first time.

    If most Republicans have their way, not only will CHIP shrink, the ACA will be repealed entirely by something TBD. Translation: You’re on your own, people. Access to basic healthcare is vital and ought to be a basic right in a civilized modern society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So right. Jim. It’s really an investment in our people. And it usually pays dividends. And even if it doesn’t pay off in monetary ways, it pays off morally. It’s the right thing to do.


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