Keep the CHIP bill clean

Few members of Congress seem to disagree that federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program should be continued. It serves an estimated 8.9 million youngsters whose parents have moderate incomes, but not low enough to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

A bipartisan bill extending support of CHIP for five years is advancing through the U.S. Senate. It should be approved both there and in the House of Representatives.

But the measure’s very desirability may make it a problem. As so often is the case, lawmakers aware the funding bill has wide support have begun adding amendments to it. They include everything from increased federal aid to hospitals to steps intended to rein in runaway insurance premiums.

Each and every one of them should be rejected.

Very few appropriations bills make it through Congress in “clean” form. That is, most are used as vehicles to provide money for unrelated purposes. That is one reason the United States has a $20 trillion national debt.

CHIP funding should be extended — but through a clean bill including only money for that purpose.

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