Suffer the children: GOP campaign donors get their tax cut, no help for poor children on CHIP

The New York Times reports, With Children’s Health Program Running Dry, Parents Beg Congress: ‘Do the Right Thing’ (as reported in the previous post, Tea-Publicans will laugh at your begging for your children’s lives):

With more and more states running out of money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, parents took their case to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, pleading with Congress to provide money before their sons and daughters lose health care and coverage.

But the program, known as CHIP, which insures nearly nine million children, took a back seat as lawmakers raced to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut. CHIP’s fate, it appears, is now caught up in a messy fight over an end-of-the-year deal on spending that must be struck by Friday to avert a government shutdown.

“CHIP is being used as a pawn in larger debates and negotiations,” Linda Nablo, the chief deputy director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, said Tuesday in an interview. “It has fallen victim to the dysfunction and partisanship in Congress. And we are getting very close to the point where some children will also be victims.”

Congress has known since April 2015 that funds for the popular children’s insurance program — created and sustained for two decades with bipartisan support — would expire this year at the end of September. The Senate Finance Committee approved a five-year extension of funding for the program in early October, but did not specify how to pay for it — and Republicans insist that it must be paid for (unlike tax cuts for corporations and wealthy plutocrats which is being financed by debt).

The House passed a bill to provide five years of funds in early November, but those funds would come from public health programs set up under the Affordable Care Act and an increase in premiums for affluent Medicare beneficiaries, provisions that are unacceptable to most Democrats. House Republicans plan to send those same provisions to the Senate again this week as part of a stopgap spending bill, knowing they will be killed.

Meantime, the Alabama Department of Public Health posted a notice on its website this week saying that it would freeze enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program on Jan. 1 and would not renew any coverage after that date.

“If Congress does not act soon, coverage for children now enrolled in CHIP will end on Feb. 1,” Cathy Caldwell, the director of the Alabama program, said Tuesday in an interview.

Virginia sent letters last week to parents of 68,000 children warning them that CHIP coverage would end on Jan. 31 unless Congress took action.

Colorado and Connecticut, among other states, have sent letters informing families that their children may soon lose CHIP coverage.

“Congress has not acted to continue the funding, so we must plan to end the CHIP program on Jan. 31,” said the letters from the Connecticut Department of Social Services.

To parents of sick children, the gamesmanship in Washington was incomprehensible, especially as Congress was working to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut with little worry over its cost to the Treasury.

* * *

Parents and children conveyed their message to Congress on Tuesday, the 80th day since federal CHIP funds expired.

No spending bill can clear the Senate without Democratic votes, so the minority party does have leverage, but Democrats also have other priorities in negotiations over the spending bill. They seek protections for young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. They want to be sure that any increase in military spending is matched by an increase in domestic spending.

Senators from both parties, including the majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, may try to attach a bipartisan bill to stabilize health insurance markets and hold down insurance premiums. That proposal faces fierce resistance from conservative House Republicans who see it as propping up Obamacare.

And some Democrats, especially the 10 up for re-election next year in states won by President Trump, fear that a government shutdown would harm their political futures.

Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, told parents on Tuesday that he could not explain Congress’s failure to fund the program.

“Some members of Congress are obsessed about getting the tax bill done,” Mr. Casey said. “They’ve been waiting for this, some of them, their whole lives. They think it’s the most important thing in the world. But, my God, if you can spend months and weeks making sure that the corporate tax rate is just where it needs to be, so that you can satisfy corporate leaders, if you can tinker with that, and have tax breaks for the superrich, if you can work that hard, why is it so hard to get a bipartisan children’s health insurance bill done?”

Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, offered a possible answer: “Maybe it is because none of our kids are in this program. I venture to say that if the children of the members of the Senate were in the CHIP program, we would have met that deadline” of Sept. 30.

While Congress squabbles, state officials are sounding the alarm. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 16 states expect to exhaust their federal CHIP funds by the end of January, with 21 additional states saying they would run out by the end of March.

The Trump administration has reshuffled money to help states with the most urgent needs. But in so doing, it exacerbates the financial problems that other states will soon face because Congress has not provided any new funds.

Republican governors, including Greg Abbott of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, have joined Democrats in urgent appeals to Congress, without much success.


The state of Arizona is prepared to implement a contingency plan to prevent nearly 23,000 children from losing access to health insurance. Arizona set to fund CHIP through March:

Congress failed to reauthorize funding for Childrens Health Insurance Program — known as KidsCare in Arizona — which insures 9 million children nationally, by a Sept. 30 deadline.

In the interim, Arizona redistributed funding from another program to fund CHIP programming through December, said Heidi Capriotti, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System public information officer.

Five states anticipated to run out of funding by Dec. 31, including Arizona, received redistributed unused CHIP funding to prevent shutdown of the program, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. However once those funds are exhausted, no further federal money will be available unless authorized by Congress.

The state also created a contingency plan, which will fund the program into the first quarter of 2018, Capriotti said.

* * *

Most states are anticipated to exhaust their federal CHIP funds by March. On Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing began sending out informational letters to its CHIP members notifying them that the program will end Jan. 31, if Congress does not renew federal funding.

Capriotti said the state expects Congress to take action to reauthorize CHIP and has not sent out notifications (yet) to parents of children enrolled in the program.

If Congress goes home for the holidays without reauthorizing the CHIP program after passing the GOP’s “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill, they should be pilloried by their constituents. “Shame! Shame! Shame!

35 thoughts on “Suffer the children: GOP campaign donors get their tax cut, no help for poor children on CHIP”

  1. John Lewis‏Verified account

    I don’t understand why this Congress refuses to stand up to help young people and children. Failing to protect undocumented youth or reauthorize CHIP is cruel and inhumane. These young people are our future and they deserve better.

    11:35 AM – 21 Dec 2017

    • repupliscum need 8 democratic votes to pass debt ceiling advance. democrats say no daca no deal no chip no deal. donor class tells nancy & chucky we bought you and you better listen to us or no $$$ its no daca and you vote for it or else! this is why we have to remove clintonista from positions of power in the democratic party!

      • I agree. Democrats need to march in lockstep. Period. These Republicans are dirty, they would sell their own mothers down the river for the chance to decimate every Democratic achievement of the past 80+ years.

        I thought until recently this was mostly about decimating the legacy of the first black president. But that’s only been a part of it. It is clearly about much, much more. And I’m not sure anyone (except maybe the insiders) was prepared for how down and dirty these GOP Congressmen were willing to go. Scumbags in suits.

          • I think it’s like “actor”, which is used for male and female and everything else now, it’s gender neutral.

            Congresscritter is still preferred.

          • nancy and chuck are selling out the daca kids as I type. we need to primary any dem that votes for this without daca included no matter how much donor money pelosi gives them.

  2. Rev. Dr. Barber‏

    Sad to see GOP Senators & House reps from the poorest Southern states standing at the White House, celebrating & gloating about passing a tax bill that will hurt the poorest people & redistribute wealth to the richest.

    1:21 PM – 20 Dec 2017

    • liza when did republiscum care about poor children except on the rare occasions when the public is so outraged at the suffering of children they are forced to act out of fear the voter retribution.

  3. 1. ever here of foster care? 2 the american people with their votes 3 the government steps in when parents fail. 4. again the american people with their votes. 5. foster care is a last resort and has many problems but it beats children living in garbage dumps as we see around the world where government can’t step in and alows child abusers and predators free reign.

  4. Ady Barkan‏
    Follow Follow @AdyBarkan
    I just learned that last night after the Senate vote, peaceful protesters in the gallery were telling personal stories about how this bill will hurt them and their families.

    And Republican Senators were laughing at them.

    It explains everything.

    They do not see our humanity.

    8:11 AM – 20 Dec 2017

    • I believe the Republican’s were indeed laughing.

      I once sat next to a guy in a meeting who was worth 300 million at the time (he’s worth well over a billion now, based on the stock price of the company) who was joking and laughing about laying off 200 people.

      The other lesser millionaires in the meeting all had a good laugh, too.

      The reason Republicans seem so callous to others is because Republicans are callous to others.

      • They’re thugs. There is no substantial difference between these Republicans and a street thug who knocks you down and takes your wallet. Well, I suppose the difference might be that the street thug is honest about what he’s doing.

      • Also, appealing to their humanity is futile because they haven’t any.

        Democrats and their supporters need to learn there is no percentage in bi-partisanship. The GOP simply does not believe in it, not in these times. When the Democrats take back the House and the Senate and then the presidency, they need to treat the Republicans like the public enemies they are, they need to crush the serpent’s head with their heel. They need to treat the Republicans exactly as they have treated us.

  5. WARNING. EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION before reading this post from “Representative” Martha McSally. Take your blood pressure medicine FIRST. Prepare your barf bag. Clear the room of valuable, breakable items. Relocate pets to a safe place. Now proceed…


    December 19, 2017 Press Release

    “Congress voted today to put our economy in afterburner. The status quo is not putting American families first. Right now lobbyists get loopholes, special interests get handouts—and families get penalized.

    Today’s landmark legislation lowers taxes across the board, increases the standard deduction, and doubles the child tax credit for hard-working Arizona families so they can save and plan. Job creators will be able to invest more of their own money into hiring more people and rewarding their employees. This bill also preserves the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit which I fought for in order to protect those facing costly child care. All told, a typical family of four earning $73,000 should see a $2,059 tax cut next year.

    This bill also includes a provision that I dedicate to the memory of Loren Thorson, a veteran from Green Valley who was committed to protecting seniors from hidden tax hikes threatening their lifelong savings. It was Loren who alerted me to a little known but widely felt tax increase in Obamacare, and the need to extend the Medical Expense Deduction and shield seniors from even more taxes on their medical bills. In response, I introduced the Halt Tax Increases on Seniors and the Middle Class Act to extend the medical expense deduction and worked to include it in these tax cuts today. I wish Loren were still with us today to see how his tireless work will now impact the lives of every American family facing medical expenses.

    It’s time we respect Arizonans time and return their money. When we last reformed the tax system—over 30 years ago—it unleashed an explosion of growth and jobs in America. Let’s do it again.”

  6. Senator Jeff Merkley‏Verified account
    13h13 hours ago

    Unbelievable. GOP just pulled off the biggest bank heist in US history & they’re delivering the loot – >$1 trillion out of our national treasury – to the wealthiest Americans & big corporations. We must fight back harder than ever for our “We the People” vision of our democracy.

    • Yeah, they certainly make a mockery of the rule of law. They make you pause and give thought to what we mean by the word “crime”, who the worst criminals are, and who should be included when we talk about crime.

      One of the country’s most notorious con men in the Oval Office and lesser, two-bit, greedy criminals masquerading as legislators. They were bought off so cheaply they really should feel stupid.

    • I guess we’ll see before too long if crime pays…

      “As the island slowly sank
      The loser finally broke the bank in the gambling room
      The dealer said, it’s too late now
      You can take your money, but I don’t know how
      You’ll spend it in the tomb”

      Bob Dylan
      “Black Diamond Bay”

  7. Steve,
    For starters I am neither hateful nor angry.
    Your questions all contain a false premise. The things you say are decided have not been decided.
    1. and 2: It has not been decided that parents are incapable of taking care of their children. That is as long as you exclude the practices that lead to the removal of aboriginals which have been abandoned and apologized for.
    3 and 4: Also not decided. There certainly are cases of incompetent or abusive parents and I doubt you would advocate ignoring their plight.
    5: If government can’t provide the “…genuine care needed by children.” then who can? I certainly don’t have faith that non-government private businesses can and non-government charitable organizations are already bearing much of the load.
    By the way, CHIP is not a care provider it is an insurance program that assists families with paying for the medical care of their children.

    • “The things you say are decided have not been decided.”

      I believe you are correct, Wastle, and I was in error for saying the issues were decided. That is what the entire debate on the subject is for and we certainly have not settled anything. Thank you for correcting me on that! :o)

      “That is as long as you exclude the practices that lead to the removal of aboriginals which have been abandoned and apologized for.”

      This sentence confused me. I wasn’t sure what “removal of aboriginals” meant, nor did I understand who “have been abandoned and apologized for”. If you would care to elaborate I would really appreciate it.

      “There certainly are cases of incompetent or abusive parents and I doubt you would advocate ignoring their plight.”

      No, I would not want them ignored. It just seems to me that most of the programs of this genre seem designed based on the assumption that parents, in general, are incompetent and unable to raise their children. I don’t think is a fair assumption being made about the vast majority of parents.

      “By the way, CHIP is not a care provider it is an insurance program that assists families with paying for the medical care of their children.”

      I am aware the CHIP is an insurance program. But it is a program designed to make up for the perceived incompetency of parents in deciding what to do for their children.

      Thank you for posting a reasoned and thought provoking response. It was a pleasure…

      • “removal of aboriginals”
        The taking of aboriginal (Indians, First Nations people, Native Americans…) children away from their parents and sending them off to schools sometimes far removed from their families. This happened all too frequently in the U.S. and Canada (and probably elsewhere). Both the U.S. and Canada have recognized that this practice was inhumane and have apologized. Each country is still wrestling with making amends.

  8. The bill screws over Puerto Rico as well, imposing higher taxes on businesses in PR than on the mainland.

    The GOP hates Americans. Or is it all the Christians on PR they hate? They used to whine about Christians in other countries being mistreated when Obama was POTUS, well there 2 million American Christians without basic services on American soil right now.

    Oh, that’s right, it’s brown people. They hate brown people.

    Fuck the GOP. 2018.r

  9. “Suffer the children: GOP campaign donors get their tax cut, no help for poor children on CHIP.”

    I already know the response these questions will inspire, so save your time and energy and please don’t bother responding with your hatred and your anger UNLESS you actually have an answer.

    (1) When was it decided that parents were incapable of taking care of their children?

    (2) Who decided it?

    (3) When was it decided that big government was better able to give children the personal care and raising than parents?

    (4) Who decided that?

    (5) The government is a bull in a china shop when it comes to having the finesse and genuine care needed by children. Given that government rarely, if ever, gets it right when it comes to dealing with individuals, why would anyone have faith in it to raise their children?

    As I said, if you are interested in actually discussing the issue, please do respond. If all you can do is curse, condemn, and bitch about conservatives, please save yourself the hassle because I am not interested in hearing you whine.

    • If you are going to troll this blog, you are going to invite comments from our readers. You do not get to make editorial decisions here. Just who the fuck do you think you are?

      • Regardless of troll boy’s inflated regard of his/herself, bottom line is he/she’s nothing more than a sanctimonious twit and should be regarded/ignored as such.

      • “You do not get to make editorial decisions here.”

        There were no “editorial decisions” being made in what I said, AzBM. I am a guest here and I know better than that. I simply acknowledged right up front that I knew the questions were incendiary and I – correctly – anticipated the outrage they would provoke. I was being honest in telling people that I wasn’t interested in exchanging insults, but I would appreciate a good explanation for why people think the way they do. Just as they have a right to respond to what I write, I have the right to ignore unproductive comments, as well. No editorial decisions were involved…

        “Just who the fuck do you think you are?”

        Just a poster who was honest about not looking for name calling and insult hurling responses, but inviting reasoned and reasonable responses that addressed the issue.

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