Politics saw a rare moment of compromise this week. Hillary Clinton and Bill Frist put partisanship aside to get behind an issue that’s long been controversial in Washington — health care. The Democrat and Republican, both of whom were previously senators, co-authored an opinion column in The New York Times titled “Save the Children’s Insurance.” The article emphasized the importance of Congress acting fast to ensure that America’s children stay insured.
This show of bipartisanship comes at an important time. Sunday is the last day to sign up for healthcare through healthcare.gov. Right now, Congress has just six months remaining to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before millions of children lose health care coverage. But, so far, Congress is just continuing its long-winded debate on health care reform.
According to the Associated Press, nonpartisan congressional analysts estimate that 12 million have signed up for insurance in the new markets. But despite that turnout, the Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging Obama’s law at the beginning of next month that could cost millions of people to lose their coverage.
With that context considered, Clinton and Frist's unity and their points become that much more poignant. CHIP has provided millions of kids with insurance for 18 years, and children shouldn’t have to lose that because gridlock and partisanship over the Affordable Care Act that could prevent the program from being extended. When Arizona dropped CHIP in 2010, for example, an estimated 14,000 kids lost their health insurance.
As Clinton and Frist put it, the health of American children should be more important than the politics of the American government:
As 2015 unfolds, we know Congress will continue to debate the future of health care reform. We most likely won’t see eye to eye about some of the more contentious questions. But one thing everyone should be able to agree on is that our most vulnerable children shouldn’t be caught in the crossfire.
Because, as Clinton and Frist point out, while they might come from different political parties, they are both parents and grandparents who “believe that partisan politics should never stand between our kids and quality health care.” Most people, whether Democrats or Republicans or independents, can probably agree with that sentiment.
So, props, Clinton and Frist. Hopefully the rest of Congress follows suit on this issue and leaves the kids out of it. The health care of millions of U.S. citizens shouldn't be a cost of Washington gridlock.
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