Jimmy Kimmel and Son Billy talk about CHIP

Jimmy Kimmel Brings Out His Newborn Son to Make a Plea for Children’s Health Insurance Program

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Jimmy Kimmel has no trouble affording health care for his newborn son, who’s needed multiple heart surgeries. Millions of kids across the country would have trouble affording care, though, if not for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program for which the U.S. Congress has mysteriously failed to renew funding this year, and Kimmel’s not happy about it.

That’s because CHIP usually has no trouble at all finding bipartisan support for its funding, but this year has been drastically different, and some states are already taking the unprecedented step of dipping into emergency funds just to keep things afloat. Why has Congress failed to act? There’s still time to do so, and it’s more than likely that they will, but the program has become an unusual point of contention between political parties this year, with Republican Senator Orin Hatch saying, “We’re going to do CHIP. There’s no doubt about it in my mind. But the reason CHIP is having trouble is because we don’t have any money anymore.”

As Kimmel points out, though, it’s a bit disingenuous to complain of a lack of available funds while attempting to institute a massive tax cut that won’t even come close to paying for itself as its proponents have claimed, and the benefits of which are skewed towards people with more money. The House and Senate still have to agree on a final version for the GOP plan to pass, but so far, this is likely to remain the case with whatever plan they settle on.

It seems like Republicans are deliberately delaying the funding of CHIP until after their tax bill efforts, in order to use it as some kind of bargaining chip. Their plan already seems to be to use the shortage of funds caused by their own tax bill to justify “entitlement reform,” which is code for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, and other programs, so it’s easy to imagine they’re planning to use similar logic to justify making cuts elsewhere—perhaps the ACA, as they’ve already proposed—in exchange for CHIP funding.

But whatever their intentions turn out to be, there’s no reason to delay the funding that doesn’t involve turning it into a partisan tool, and that’s not a good reason to throw the program into its current state of emergency and future uncertainty.

(image: ABC)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>