Tens of thousands of Virginia families are just receiving what could be devastating news in their mailboxes. That’s because earlier this week, Virginia sent letters to families of more than 68,000 children informing them that their children may lose their health insurance at the end of January unless Congress acts to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Funding for CHIP expired on September 30, and despite past widespread bipartisan support, Congressional leaders haven’t yet acted to renew funding for this program that covers 9 million children from lower- and moderate-income families in the U.S. Several states will run out of money at the end of December, with many more like Virginia following early next year. For families that will lose coverage, this news will no doubt induce stress, fear, and anxiety, especially for families with children who suffer from serious medical conditions.
Meanwhile, not far away in D.C., GOP leaders spent their time on a different priority – giving tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. On Wednesday, it was announced that a deal had been reached between the House and Senate versions of the bill, and that in this new merged version, the wealthiest Americans will see their tax rate decrease even more than in the previous bills. While not all of the details on the merged bill are out yet, it’s reported that the top income tax rate will drop to 37 percent (down from the current 39.6 percent), and we expect that it will double the exemption for the estate tax, meaning only family estates worth more than $22 million will be taxed. Phew! I bet those families whose estates are worth between $11 million and $22 million, who were previously taxed and now won’t be, are breathing a sigh of relief!
This cartoon, courtesy of Matt Davies at Newsday, shows just how majorly misplaced these priorities are. Tell Congress to get their priorities straight, and #ExtendCHIP and #FundCHIPNow!