Trump calls children's health care 'wasteful' as GOP votes to slash it


Republicans voted to cut $7 billion in funding from children's health care.

House Republicans voted Thursday to cut $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The measure passed the House of Representatives with only Republican votes, 210-206.

The CHIP program provides health insurance to millions of low-income children and pregnant women.

Trump tweeted in support of "historic" legislation that cut "wasteful spending." He described the so-called rescissions package as a sign "we are getting our government back on track."

Republican leaders have argued that the legislation shows fiscal responsibility. But Republicans passed a $1.3 trillion spending package after also passing tax cuts targeted at multimillionaires, billionaires, and giant corporations.

While the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this cut will not affect the number of people covered by CHIP, the cut represents a general attitude among Republicans that program is not a top priority.

Last fall, the GOP-controlled Congress actually let the program, which covers approximately 9 million children, expire for several months. Well aware that the program needed to be reauthorized before Oct. 1, the party instead focused on trying to repeal Obamacare, restrict abortion access, and ram through its disastrous tax giveaway for billionaires and corporations.

In December of 2017, as several states were warning families that their children would be losing coverage, the White House was not even talking about reauthorizing the program.

Asked whether Trump even wanted the program extended, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "I haven’t had that specific conversation with him."

At the same time, Republicans like Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said there wasn't money left over to fund CHIP because it had been given to the wealthy.

While Congress finally, and belatedly, did reauthorize CHIP, Trump and his Republicans have made clear that they view the program as something that can be cut as needed to fund their other priorities — like tax cuts for their rich donors.

The $7 billion cut to CHIP is, as the New York Times notes, "a curious move in an election year, at least from a public relations standpoint."

Voters have repeatedly cited health care as their top concern in advance of the 2018 midterm elections, but Trump and the Republicans have again sent a clear message that they are more concerned with protecting their tax cuts for the wealthy than they are with protecting health care for children.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.