The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired in September and funding for Arizona children runs out soon. This all strikes a personal nerve with me.
Last year, doctors couldn’t find a reason why my otherwise healthy toddler was having 103- and 104-degree fevers nearly every night for three weeks. With test after test, there was no time to think about whether insurance would cover the cost. I wasn’t going to hesitate. This was my baby.
My son’s mystery illness was likely an unknown virus strain, but at the time, as frantic parents, we were facing the possibility of much worse.
What if we didn’t even have insurance? No parent should ever have to pause because of costs when their child needs care. But for 9 million parents with children on CHIP this might soon be a reality.
In Arizona, 22,000 kids will be affected when federal funding lapses at the end of January. State legislators have a contingency plan to fund a couple extra months of CHIP in Arizona. The plan, however, takes money from Medicaid. We, as a state, are being forced to choose between those that need us most.
The GOP put corporate tax cuts above the needs of sick children, letting CHIP expire and doing nothing to reauthorize it. This is greedy, wrong and a reprehensible form of leadership.
We must demand CHIP be restored urgently.
I will fight with compassion for every child and every family.