Congress must renew Louisiana’s children’s health program

Robin Boch, Senior Staff Writer

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Louisiana’s children’s health program, which provides low-income children and pregnant women with health insurance and affordable care, is down to its last months of federal funding. Congressmen must prioritize children’s health and renew this program quickly. Otherwise, many of these people will lose the care and assistance on which they are dependent.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, “The Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) provides health coverage to uninsured children up to age 19. It is a no-cost health program that pays for hospital care, doctor visits, prescription drugs, shots and more.” 

CHIP is a national program that aids nearly eight million children and families. Though the people it supports differs from state to state, numerous families rely on this program. Health care for everyone, whether or not they have can afford it, is essential, and it is time our government realizes this fact.

The way CHIP is currently set up, it is financed through Medicaid, meaning Louisiana only has to pay about 3.4 percent of its costs. Without this program in place, the state would be forced to pay much more or begin cutting people from the program and reducing its impact. Given that Louisiana is already struggling with formulating a budget that meets the state’s priorities, it is crucial that the federal government aid the state in funding CHIP so the program can continue.

Congress’s deadline to renew CHIP was Sept. 30, but it let this day pass without taking any action. Louisiana still has money left to continue the program until about February, but it is unknown exactly what will happen to the program once the federal funding runs out. Because there is such wide support for CHIP, Congress is expected to eventually renew financing for the program. It must act quickly, however, to reduce the possible damage to many people across the country having to go without health care for some time.

Though the majority of Tulane students are either not from Louisiana or are privileged enough not to have to worry about finding health insurance, we should all still be aware of issues like this and be willing to stand up for what we know to be right.

This is not just a Louisiana problem. It is a national problem. The lack of funding for this program will affect every state. Without the renewal of CHIP, Louisianans will suffer. Not everyone will be impacted, but we all must be willing to stand up for those whose health and well-being depends on this program.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Robin is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]