As of Tuesday, it has been 1,327 days since the residents of Flint, Mich., have been able to use water directly from their faucets without relying on filters. Although reports say that the lead levels in the water are down, residents are still being cautioned to use filters and bottled water.
In addition to the problems they are already facing, Flint residents are also becoming the victims of the ripple effect that happens when our elected members of Congress don’t do their job.
A Sept. 30 deadline came and went without Congress renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which since 1997 has provided health care for children and low-income pregnant women who don’t qualify for Medicaid.
As CityLab reports, the federal government approved a special five-year contract with the state of Michigan last year that allowed families in Flint to apply for funding to have their pipes assessed and their water quality tested in the wake of the lead-contamination crisis. The agreement also provided funding through CHIP for pipe replacement in the homes of children who qualified for the insurance program. With the program not being renewed, those funds and programs are now in jeopardy.
Currently, CHIP funds for the city of Flint are available through April 2018, according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, but what happens after that?
MDHHS spokesperson Angela Minicuci told CityLab in an email: “MDHHS is closely watching the federal activity regarding CHIP funding. Should the funding not be reauthorized prior to when the state exhausts our remaining allotment, we’ll either need to secure additional from the state legislature or amend/cease the contract accordingly.”
CityLab explains that if the program is not reauthorized in time, MDHHS will have to find other funding or cease use of CHIP altogether, which would be bad for the children who depend on it.
Here we are with yet another example of how the people of Flint keep getting the short end of the stick.
Read more at CityLab.