The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

October 7, 2013

Protecting children and families by protecting CHIP

Imagine with me for a moment: your infant child is sick. Her fever is spiking. Her cough is persistent. Her breathing is labored. Many of you know the feeling of hopelessness when a child is not well.

What many of us can never understand is the sense of dread that arises when you know you can’t afford your child’s health care needs.

Far too many West Virginians have understood this agony. They know what it’s like to hold off just one more day, to hope the symptoms get better in order to can avoid a costly trip to the emergency room but only to have the symptoms worsen during the night.

No one should have to feel this way, especially when it comes to protecting a child’s heath.

I firmly believe that health care should be viewed as a right, not a privilege. That’s why I’m so committed to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.

CHIP, which I helped create in 1997, was launched with a simple premise: to make sure children and families have access to affordable, quality healthcare. And it’s that same premise that keeps me fighting for it today, as we approach the debate over its future.

Recently, I gathered a wonderful group of CHIP policy experts from our state along with CHIP advocates and families who’ve benefited from CHIP, to highlight upcoming efforts that can help secure CHIP funding for years to come.

The wonderful folks who joined me in Charleston know how important this program is to our children and their families. Together, we are dedicated to making sure CHIP is expanded and strengthened so it can continue to provide children and families access to healthcare coverage and services for years to come.

We need only think of those mothers, cradling a fevered child at night, to get our moral compass pointed in the right direction.

Today, I’m asking West Virginians to join with us in support of the children and families who rely on CHIP.

We understand this issue in a way that many others never will, and we’ve seen the important benefits it provides — so we should all be resolved to giving all of our children a healthy start in life.

(Rockefeller is West Virginia’s senior senator.)

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