Wallie Morris: Chipping away at bad health care policy | SteamboatToday.com

Wallie Morris: Chipping away at bad health care policy

Last week, Congress extended Children's Health Insurance Program —CHIP — funding for the next 10 years. In Colorado, 75,000 children and hundreds of pregnant women can now rest assured they will have access to affordable health care.

Extending federal funding for CHIP should be a no brainer. It is a program with historically bi-partisan support. Nationally, children's uninsured rate has fallen in half since CHIP was enacted two decades ago. It provides hard working, middle class families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but need support to pay for increasingly expensive health insurance, affordable coverage for their children.

CHIP is not a handout. It helps Americans, working in lower-wage jobs, provide for their families. To me, it is a program at the essence of what America stands for.

For months, CHIP was entangled in heated political negotiations over two of the most polarizing issues on the political agenda — the Affordable Care Act and immigration. I was relieved last week to see that this Congress finally did right regarding health care policy.

I am writing this letter as a thank you to the members of Congress, specifically, those from the state of Colorado, for rising above party politics and funding a program essential to the health and well being of America's youth.

I am also writing this letter as a thank you to the American public for raising their voices and holding members of Congress accountable. When CHIP was on the chopping block, roughly two-thirds of Americans polled supported a government shut down to help obtain funding for CHIP (Morning Consult-Politico Poll Dec. 2017).

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Over the past year, our country has seen a shift in how the public views health care. With the threat of universal access to health care hanging on by a thread, Gallup found that approximately half of Americans polled approved of the ACA. With no better option on the table, the public is realizing that perhaps the ACA, while not perfect, is a step in the right direction.

My hope is that the American public continues to recognize the importance of accessible health care for all adults, just as they have for all children, and goes to the polls in the midterm elections with that in mind. Perhaps then, we will continue to chip away at the bad health care policy coming out of Washington.

Wallie Morris

Steamboat Springs