Community Service Council Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burr and Health and Mental Health Division Director Shauna Meador react to the failure of the U.S. Congress to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program and what it means to our state and our children.
“Unfortunately, here we are again wringing our hands, lamenting the action or—in this case—the inaction of our lawmakers in Washington. There are consequences to this seeming unwillingness to govern,” said Kevin Burr, CEO, Community Service Council (CSC). “In this case specifically, Congress failed to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federally funded and state-administered block grant that serves about 122,000 Oklahoma children. The failure to renew the program also means a loss of $49 million to Oklahoma at a time when we already have a budget shortfall. We implore our federal lawmakers to do the right thing and quickly renew CHIP for the 8.9 million children in this country who rely on it for healthcare.
“It’s obvious to say and becoming trite in our current political environment both in Washington and in Oklahoma City, but I’ll say it again: Our children are our future, we must invest in them,” Burr said.
“The impact to our youngest citizens due to the lack of CHIP reauthorization is potentially devastating as current funding is set to run out in April 2018,” said Shauna Meador, CSC’s health and mental health division director. “CHIP funding in Oklahoma goes directly to fund the SoonerCare program. Along with the thousands of Oklahoma children who could potentially lose vital medical coverage the over 400 infants and young children served by CSC’s Tulsa Healthy Start program annually could see a reduction in or lose health care coverage due to lack of funding,” Meador said.