CHIP insurance program is cost effective

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I just got out of the hospital after a six-night stay.

Nothing makes you appreciate the value of good health care like a near-death experience. I didn’t know I was going to need that level of care on Monday, yet on Tuesday, there I was, in the hospital, in desperate need of quality care.

By Thursday I underwent emergency surgery to correct a problem caused by a routine screening colonoscopy.

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I have always supported the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Still, as I lay in my hospital bed getting ’round the clock care from the best doctors and nurses a patient could have, I grew angrier that the president would think it’s OK that I have care and that he has health care, but that millions of children don’t.

Everyone deserves quality health care in this country.

The bipartisan plan will cover 10 million children. That’s 10 million children who wouldn’t have insurance otherwise.

And we’re paying for it — we’re not putting this on the credit card.

It’s going to take some doing — and I may even need to be wheeled onto the floor of the House to cast my vote — but I will do everything in my power to vote to override the president’s unconscionable veto to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

This is a bipartisan plan that insures 10 million children whose families are struggling to make ends meet.

This program was created to provide health coverage for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. In other words, these are the children who fall through the cracks.

It’s no wonder that 69 senators, including 18 Republicans, and 43 governors, including 16 Republicans, support this program.

This bill preserves coverage for six million children currently covered by CHIP and extends coverage to four million more that lack insurance. There are 122,000 uninsured children in Ohio who would gain health coverage.

The president says the program is too expensive and we can’t afford it. He’s wrong.

First, it’s paid for. Second, we can’t afford not to. It costs less than $3.50 a day to cover children through CHIP.

Insuring kids is much more cost-effective than emergency room care. And we all know a healthy child is more likely to succeed in education and life.

This vote on Thursday is a vote for children and for our future. I want to reassure the citizens of Ohio’s Sixth District that far from preventing me from voting, my recent emergency hospital stay will propel me onto the House floor to cast that vote for children.

Charlie Wilson is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and represents Ohio’s Sixth District.