West Virginia Working To Keep Children’s Health Insurance Plan

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West Virginia’s U.S. senators say they support reauthorizing the 20-year-old Children’s Health Insurance Plan, whose funding authorization expired this month.

According to health officials, the program covers 21,291 children statewide and about 9 million nationally. It provides low-cost health coverage for children under 19 in working families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday will start advancing reauthorization legislation that has “strong bipartisan support.” She says program funds are currently available for another two years and West Virginia has money for all beneficiaries through April.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin called letting the authorization expire “nothing short of negligent.”

Former West Virginia Gov. and U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller led efforts to enact it in 1997.