To the Editor:

Senator Orrin Hatch had this to say in December about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (which he helped to create): “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is that we don’t have money anymore.” Senator Hatch voted for the tax bill that gives  83% of the tax cuts to the top 1% of Americans. Middle class taxpayers will see minimal tax relief for seven years. After 2025, taxes for the middle class will rise. Congressman Duffy also voted for this bill.

The stop gap funding for CHIP which was passed December 21st will fund the program through March. The Children’s Health Insurance Program covered 8.9 million children last year. The Children’s Health Insurance Program covered 171,000 children in Wisconsin in 2016. Members of Congress have refused to appropriate the $75 billion that is needed to reauthorize CHIP for another five years. Why is okay to hurt children and their families while leaving them in limbo?

Meanwhile, members of Congress and their families are covered by a Gold-level policy under the Affordable Care Act. Members of Congress receive federal subsidies that cover seventy-two percent of the cost of the premiums. Those “federal subsidies” are paid for by the taxpayers. Free or low cost care is also available through the Office of the Attending Physician.

Childhood poverty in Wisconsin had risen from 14.6% (2005-2009) to 18.5% in 2014—the highest rate since 1984. (It is difficult to find more current statistics.) Poverty impacted the lives of 239,000 children in Wisconsin with nearly one in five children living in poverty.  Only 10 other states saw a faster increase in childhood poverty.

Sawyer County where Congressman Duffy lived during his youth and now represents was tied with Milwaukee County for the second highest rate for children living in poverty. The rate went up from 26.4% to 33%.

When will Congress fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program? Will the funding be equal to or more than the $15 billion spent in 2016 to keep children healthy?

Insuring children in low income households is a moral issue while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans is indecent and immoral.

Thank you.

Joyce Luedke, Rothschild

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot and Review gladly publishes letters discussing issues that impact people in central Wisconsin. The views of our readers are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot and Review. To submit a letter, email editor@wausaupilotreview-newspack.newspackstaging.com or mail to P.O. Box 532, Wausau, Wis., 54402-0532.