Letter: Cutting public health care, Medicare not acceptable

To the editor:

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been a bi-partisan bright spot for 20 years. This successful program helps 9 million low-to-moderate income children access medical care. CHIP’s authorization expired in September. Individual states will run out of funds for these kids at different rates, some as soon as this month and others as late as September 2018. Indiana is scheduled to run out of funding around May.

Fortunately, Congress is working on bills to fund CHIP. Unfortunately the House’s version looks to extract a pound of flesh in the process. The House bill calls for funding cuts to Medicare and the Prevention and Public Health fund.

The former will mean higher Medicare premiums for our seniors. It will also worsen the impact of the House’s recent budget bill, passed with U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth’s support, that includes $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. The latter hurts programs that enable lead testing (think East Chicago, Indiana, and Flint, Michigan) and support diabetes prevention, among others things.

Please call Hollingsworth (317-851-8710) today and tell him that these cuts to your Medicare and public health are not OK. We need a clean CHIP reauthorization bill.

William E. Smith III