To the editor:

Congress recently did a good thing by funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years. Yet many of the kids who rely on CHIP also use community health centers. Congress has yet to renew funding for these clinics. These health providers help millions of low income Americans with essential healthcare services.

I know from personal experience how important these clinics can be. When I was a teenager, my single mother worked a low-paying factory job. She took me to one of these clinics when I needed a physical so that my high school would let me join the track team.

Having access to a physical is a seemingly small thing, but it changed my life. Being on the track team helped me to get into better physical shape, to make new friends, and even influenced where I went to college.

That clinic also would have been there had I needed more serious medical attention. But these clinics might not be there for kids in similar situations in the near future unless Congress acts quickly. Therefore, I urge Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) to commit to renewing these clinics’ funding as part of February’s government funding bill.

William E. Smith III