It's day 83 since the Children's Health Insurance Program and community health center funding expired. The Republican Congress kicked the can down the road a few months, providing temporary funding for them. That's better than nothing, but still a major failure in governance.
"You can't run an insurance program this way," said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Lawmakers are forcing health officials who run the program "to go month-to-month."
Even with passage of another patch, the limbo is hard on families.
"It's a pretty bad Christmas or holiday present for a lot of families," said Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a bipartisan nonprofit focused on national health issues. "You can predict that there will be relief that the funding has been extended, but it will be combined with a lot of anxiety."
As for states that can't plan ahead, "this is creating an administrative nightmare," Rowland said.
Unraveling a program takes time, so states still have to be preparing for the eventual end of the program, because there are no guarantees that this massively dysfunctional Congress and White House will get the job done. They clearly don't care enough about the kids to make them a priority, and in fact are gleefully looking ahead to all of the safety net programs that benefit children that they can slash.
Meanwhile, Trump is getting his $11 million tax break because that Republicans could prioritize.
Ruin their Christmas as badly as they are ruining the holiday for millions of families. Jam the phone lines of House and Senate Republicans. Call (202) 224-3121, and tell them to stop holding kids hostage and to pass a clean funding bill for CHIP and community health centers.