Hillary Clinton won’t go away.
Despite the fact that the investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is pointing more and more in her campaign’s direction, and the simple fact that she lost the 2016 election, she nevertheless insists on staying in the public eye in whatever way she can, even using the debate over the funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to do it.
CHIP — a joint state-federal healthcare plan that falls under Medicare and Medicaid — is used exclusively for children of poor parents and pays for an estimated 9 million kids across the country. It is generally bi-partisan approved, with Republicans and Democrats both supporting the program. At issue is how to fund it, and for how long, now that the healthcare sector is about to change again following the almost-assured death of Obamacare.
Funding lapsed in September and President Trump, in signing the short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open for the next two weeks, included a provision to re-allocate unused CHIP funds to states experiencing an extreme budget shortfall without actually funding CHIP in the states through 2018.
CHIP’s 2017 budget was $16.6 billion. The current federal budget has slashed it to $12 billion, but Congress has to allocate that funding.
As the issue keeps getting put off, states are starting to worry about how to pay for their CHIP programs. Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah were on track to run out of funding by the end of the year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Hillary is displeased (*sigh*) with Congress’ and the President’s decision. And she’s rallying the troops on Twitter:
Clinton blasted Republican fiscal priorities, and in a series of tweets, she called for her supporters to ask Congress to renew CHIP and protect other government programs from potential cuts.
“There’s a lot to be frustrated by right now, to say the least. Here’s something that we should be able to fix,” Clinton began.
She continued, “The Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health care for 9 million kids & has been reauthorized on a bipartisan basis every year for almost 2 decades, is hanging in limbo because Congress let it expire over 2 months ago.”
Clinton went on to attack Republican fiscal priorities, saying the Senate GOP tax bill is a “giveaway for those who least need it” and warning about eventual cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he hopes to work next year on reducing spending on health care entitlements and the welfare system.
How is it that in the middle of dividing up $1.5 trillion dollars between corporations & the ultra-wealthy, Republicans can’t find the time & money to take care of children? These are perverse priorities. Congress needs to pass CHIP now, as they have every year since the 1990s.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 7, 2017
How is it that a career politician now at the end of her work life can’t gracefully exit the stage and let Republicans — who are getting ready to ramp up the fight to reform entitlements (which I imagine might include some of these healthcare programs) in the hope of providing a better alternative — do their work without constant criticism?
It’s clear she’s trying to use a stance she took in her campaign, claiming credit for CHIP, which Politifact gives her more credit for than she deserves (Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Orrin Hatch deserve the lion’s share).
But no matter who was responsible for the program at the outset, it’s likely about to change in an effort spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan; and he will doubtless at least attempt to make it look a lot less like a huge federal entitlement program (that’s the hope, anyway).
We’ll see if Team Ryan can make that happen. But in the meantime: go away already, Hillary, so people can get some work done in peace.