By Louisa Warren
With a staggering budget shortfall, lawmakers are facing tough decisions and numerous critical programs in health, human services, and education will be harmed by the time the final budget proposal passes. Budget conferees are now working in the NC General Assembly to hammer out a compromise budget proposal amidst one of the worst economic downturns in generations.
Across the country, states facing similar budget and economic challenges like North Carolina have recognized the importance of preserving and expanding investments in certain programs that are key to economic recovery. One of these programs is the SCHIP program, or State Children’s Health Insurance Program. North Carolina’s version is called NC Health Choice and lawmakers are currently debating whether to cut, freeze, or expand enrollment in the program. Budget conferees should take into consideration the economic impact of investing in NC Health Choice and its incredible importance to families and their children during this economic downturn.