With many colleagues, I lobbied the federal government in 1996/97 to pass legislation enabling the creation of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children of poor working families. After its passage, my colleagues and I turned our attention to state legislatures. I was director of the WV Council of Churches at the time, and so worked with, and sometimes against, the WV Legislature to fully fund the program.
Renewal of CHIP, which now goes by SCHIP with the S standing for state, is before Congress.
I'm pleased to say that my own denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is this time encouraging its members to support renewal of the program. In a recent letter, Rev Dr Sharon Watkins, our head of communion, wrote that nine million children in the United States are without health insurance coverage.
“How we treat our children says something about the kind of people we are – and about the kind of God we serve,” she wrote. “I have decided that I need to speak out on this issue and I am writing to urge you to enter into prayerful discernment about whether or not it is time for you or your congregation to also take a stand.” For her letter in full, go to: http://www.disciples.org/dns/releases2007/07094.pdf.
To view a website with resources that address this issue, go to: www.discipleshomemissions.org/familyandchildren/HealthCareForChildren/index.htm.
This is a goo program that has helped many children, families and communities. It's worth getting involved, so I hope you will.
Lots of hope,