Abraham: Democrats holding CHIP funding hostage
WASHINGTON - Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, urged members of both parties to pass a six-year authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the program that provides medical insurance for sick, impoverished children and expecting mothers, at a press conference on Wednesday.
CHIP reauthorization is included in the proposed continuing resolution that would avert a government shutdown. However, Democrats are expected to vote "no" in order to gain leverage in their attempts to achieve an amnesty deal for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), illegal immigrants who the Obama administration allowed to stay in the United States. The vote is expected Thursday.
"As a doctor in rural Louisiana, I have seen how this program helps poor children, and we need to get this done. The Democrats are playing political games with CHIP over an unrelated immigration debate, which tells me that the Left cares more about illegal immigrants than they do about sick, impoverished American children. That is unconscionable," Dr. Abraham said.
Funding for CHIP in Louisiana is expected to expire in March. Louisiana has roughly 120,000 CHIP recipients, according to a report by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Thursday's vote will be the third time that Republicans in the House have attempted to reauthorize CHIP despite continued Democrat opposition.
On Nov. 3, the House passed the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which extended CHIP for five years. Of Republicans, 227 supported the bill while 171 Democrats voted against it. The bill failed to move in the Senate after Democrats blocked it from being considered.
On Dec. 21, the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government that provided a three-month extension of CHIP.
To view the press conference, click here.