MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle teared up as she reported on a pediatrician and late-night talk show host begging lawmakers not to let a children’s health care insurance program run out.
Jimmy Kimmel brought his infant son, who recently underwent heart surgery, onto his program Monday night to urge Congress to continued funding CHIP, which covers about 9 million children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance.
Federal funding for the program has run out, and the Republican-led Congress doesn’t appear eager to fix the problem.
“A pediatrician from the children’s hospital in Philadelphia, one of the best children’s hospitals in the country, wrote a piece for the Washington Post,” Ruhle said, her voice beginning to crack. “I want to share what he wrote. ‘Every day I see patients in my practice who stand to lose their health care if Congress does not act to extend CHIP funding. Those of us on the front lines of medicine who care for children and families with limited resources remember well the time that we turned children away solely because their families were working hard to raise themselves out of poverty.'”
Ruhle’s eyes brimmed with tears as she turned to guest Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the African-American studies department at Princeton University, and asked for help explaining why Republicans wouldn’t fund the program.
“Help me, Eddie,” she said, her voice breaking. “States had enough money for a few months, but it truly is running out. We’re going to face January, and states like Colorado have warned people your kids won’t be insured. Why don’t they have money for this? This seems like such — America voted for bipartisanship. They voted because they felt like President Trump was not an ideologue and he would be pragmatic. Help me understand why there wouldn’t be the money for this.”
Glaude offered a succinct and disturbing explanation.
“Well, there’s kind of cruelty and callousness that kind of rule the day,” he said.
Ruhle didn’t understand how that translated into good politics.
“But who does that win for?” she said. “Who says, Right on, man — don’t help the kids? That’s what I can’t figure out.”
Glaude said congressional Republicans, like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), complain the federal government was broke — but he said the GOP tax reform bill demonstrated a “value deficit.”
“What do we value? What do we cherish?” he said. “How do we extend to our fellows dignity and standing — and the most vulnerable among us, children?”
GOP strategist Steve Schmidt placed most of the blame on the party he’s supported throughout his life, which he said had been corrupted by “greed and power.”
“The hypocrisy and the rot are worthy of discussion, the meanness, the cruelty” Schmidt said. “But this is a very simple thing to understand, and it gives me no pleasure to say this. I’ve spent my life in the Republican Party, it gives me no pleasure to say this. This party has demonstrated a complete incapacity to govern. I think there will come a tsunami in 2018 that wipes it away.”