The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, March 16, 2007

CHIPS, CHiPS and chips

What do you think of when you hear the word “chips?”

Three things come to mind: Delectable Chocolate Chip Cookies, Erik Estrada on a motorcycle and the state’s insurance plan for uninsured children. I will touch on all three, starting with insurance. Part of my reason for this is that I have a midterm on Monday covering this, but it’s also good to know about programs in our state and how they affect us and our neighbors.

Nearly 20% of the uninsured Americans are children under the age of 19 and these 9 million children are more likely to lack a consistent source of health care, to go without needed health care, and to experience worse health outcomes than children who have health insurance.

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, or CHIP) is a federal and state funded program developed to take care of uninsured children under title XXI of the Social Security Act. The program was created by the Balanced Budget Act (remember in the Clinton years we had balanced budgets and even created a surplus) of 1997, and allowed states to design their own programs to best meet their needs.

Alabama’s CHIP program is ALL Kids and is for uninsured children under the age of 19. It provides for well child checkups and immunizations, sick child care, prescriptions, vision and dental care, and enhanced care for children with special health care needs. The child must not be covered by other insurance or be eligible for Medicaid.

All Kids has helped Alabama to reduce the rate of uninsured kids by about 2/3, and has improved access and utilization for children’s health care in our state. Since September 1998, over 172,000 children in Alabama have been insured through All Kids.

Each state has flexibility in administering the program and Alabama’s program has helped our state to be ranked fairly high in the number of uninsured kids. The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation has recently released a report that shows that in Alabama 7.2% of children are uninsured. The range among states is 5.6% in Vermont to 20.3% in Texas, and Alabama ranks among the top 10 or so.

Remember the TV show CHiPS? I won’t say much about it, but CHiPS stood for California Highway Patrol and aired from 1977 to 1983. Erik Estrada.

See I told you I wouldn’t say much. The picture says it all.

Bessemer has our own version of CHiPS. Bessemer police officer Ed Jones was recently interviewed in the Birmingham News. He is a motorcycle cop, working accidents, issuing citations and providing escorts. Officer Jones is quoted as saying “Black CHiPS. That’s what they call us, you hear that all the time.”

Finally, what you’ve been waiting on. Chocolate Chip Cookies. From Famous Amos to Chips Ahoy, but nothing beats home made.

Gwen Steege has written books on the chocolate chip cookie. Here is a recipe from one of her books:


Mona B. Spencer, Vancouver WA

Whether you choose butter or margarine, Mona's recipe is sure to please. Remember that butter will make the cookies crisp, and margarine will make them cakey.

2 cups plus 4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter or margarine, softened until almost melted
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Sift the flour with the baking soda and salt. Add the sugars, eggs, vanilla, and butter or margarine, and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 4 Dozen

I’m heading for the kitchen right now!!!!

A sad note, British actor John Inman passed away recently. Inman played Mr. Humphreys on the BBC hit comedy “Are You Being Served?” Inman leaves behind his partner of 35 years.

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