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Opinion: Congress needs to reauthorize CHIP when they get back to work in January

The federally-funded CHIP program provides $200 million each year for the "All Kids" program.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Republicans and Democrats don’t see eye to eye on much in Congress. When an issue arises that they actually do agree on one would think it would be easy to pass legislation.

Well, that hasn’t been the case with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, CHIP, that helps subsidize health coverage for some 9 million children in low and middle-income families across the country.

The program’s federal funds ran out in September and Congress has yet to reauthorize the program.

The latest federal funding stopgap agreement did include a short-term band aid for CHIP - about $3 billion out of an approximately $15 billion dollar program. That amount will run out sometime in March. Here is the question - why play brinkmanship with the health and lives of children?

Yes, we all know that, sadly, the federal budget, spending caps and debt ceiling have become pawns in the political game. It is unacceptable for our children to be used the same way.

Even the prospect of money running out hurts CHIP as states have to spend part of the allotted amount on preparations to shut down the program and send notices to parents that their children will be losing coverage.

Here’s the bottom line: children’s health has to be above partisan haggling. The thought of a mother or father getting a notice that their child would be losing health coverage is truly heartbreaking. Enough with the short term solutions from Congress. Since both parties already agree on the need for this program, our elected leaders have to fully reauthorize CHIP as soon as they get back to work in January.

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