Children’s Health Insurance Program Demands Quick, Bipartisan Passage – Forbes

Why would someone give up a career as a full-time surgeon to become an elected official?

It was a question I was asked time and again during my two terms in the U.S. Senate. To me, the answer was always clear: I was searching for a way to make a positive impact on the greatest number of lives.

Surgery certainly provided an avenue for helping others, but it required focusing on one patient at a time. Each time the door to the operating room closed, I never forgot that a patient’s loved ones were sitting just outside, anxiously waiting for news.

There was the single mother who refused to return home while her child was sick, shuttling her tired body between work and the hospital for weeks on end. The little brother bravely holding back tears as he watched his sibling emerge safely from surgery. The father who sat up late at night, medical bills stacked in front of him, wondering if a second mortgage would give him the means he needed to save his child’s life.

I wondered if there was a way to support all of these people — both in times of crisis, and in times of security.

That is what led me to pursue public service. It’s why I spent 12 years in the Senate, including four as Senate Majority Leader, working with colleagues to champion legislation that would strengthen American families for years to come.

It’s also why, since leaving the Senate, I’ve continued to advocate for evidenced-based policies that improve the health of America’s kids in my role as Senior Advisor to Council for a Strong America and as co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Future of Health Care initiative.

Furthering that goal continues to be my top priority, just as it was when I served in the Senate.  Perhaps no piece of legislation is more of a testament to the pursuit of that goal than the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

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