Children’s Health Insurance Program Demands Quick, Bipartisan Passage (Forbes)

FORBES | Why would someone give up a career as a full-time surgeon to become an elected official?

It was a question I was asked time and again during my two terms in the U.S. Senate. To me, the answer was always clear: I was searching for a way to make a positive impact on the greatest number of lives.

Surgery certainly provided an avenue for helping others, but it required focusing on one patient at a time. Each time the door to the operating room closed, I never forgot that a patient’s loved ones were sitting just outside, anxiously waiting for news. I wondered if there was a way to support all of these people — both in times of crisis, and in times of security.

That is what led me to pursue public service. It’s why I spent 12 years in the Senate, including four as Senate Majority Leader, working with colleagues to champion legislation that would strengthen American families for years to come.

CHIP was a shared vision of Republicans and Democrats alike. It seems like ancient history now, but, in 1997, I joined with members from both sides of the aisle to debate health care policy forcefully but productively. Led by Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), we crafted the CHIP language. Bipartisan action, so crucial to the health of the country and the economy, was never more important than when it came to insuring America’s children.

Now, two decades later, that progress is in jeopardy. CHIP is set to expire on September 30. If Congress doesn’t act, one out of every ten children in this country is at risk of losing health insurance.

Read more at Forbes.