Editor’s note: On Friday the House approved a measure to fund CHIP, but the bill still faces a fight in the Senate. This letter was written and submitted before the House’s action.

Congress has not reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program: CHIP. It has been allowed to expire. When current funds run out children will get sicker and more will die. This is a major failure for Congress.

Children are not financially responsible. They cannot buy their own health care. And yet illness can cause them permanent mental and physical disabilities. Protracted illness can cause children to fall behind in school. This disadvantage will reduce their ability as adults to support themselves and their families. It is immoral to inflict these problems on children.

Congress is fiscally irresponsible when they deprive children of health care causing future problems. Partially disabled or partially educated adults who can still work will produce less than they could if they had received good health care as children. When you consider the wage multiplier factor, this will have a three or more fold impact on the economy. It will slow the economy and reduce the number of jobs.

Those children who become adults with permanent disability and qualify for disability income, will cost our society into the indefinite future because of the failure to reauthorize CHIP . It is well known that educationally deprived people more frequently become prisoners. Providing food, housing, and guarding prisoners is expensive and increases our taxes.

Congress should act morally and be fiscally responsible. Reauthorize CHIP.

Fred Meyer III