CHIP has been great success
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Saturday is an important anniversary for West Virginia children. That's the day in 2009 when a bill to extend and improve the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP, called WVCHIP in West Virginia) became law. It's a day we decided as a nation to protect and invest in the health of our children. And it's a day every West Virginia parent should remember by thanking Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
It's no surprise that many West Virginia families have lost private health insurance in recent years as parents have lost their jobs. What may surprise you, though, is that while 25,000 West Virginia children now live with at least one unemployed parent, the number of uninsured children in West Virginia has actually gone down. The bottom line: WVCHIP works for kids, their families, and the State of West Virginia.
That's no accident -- it's because West Virginia lawmakers made a decision three years ago to protect children against becoming uninsured when their parents lose jobs, through WVCHIP and Medicaid. Thanks to their leadership, when hard-working families face tough times, children can still count on getting the preventive care they need to stay healthy and focused in school. And because health care costs are a big driver of bankruptcies and foreclosures, covering kids through WVCHIP and Medicaid helps families battered by the economy hang on until they can get back on their feet. And WVCHIP brings federal funds into West Virginia's economy, protecting local jobs in doctors' offices and hospitals here in Charleston.
It's also just common sense to keep kids healthy. With WVCHIP , a little girl can keep her asthma under control with check-ups and an inhaler that cost just a few hundred dollars a year. But if we allow her to remain uninsured and just one full-blown asthma attack requires hospitalization, the costs quickly jump into the thousands. And if her parents are unemployed, we all pay -- through higher insurance premiums to offset hospitals' costs for uncompensated care.
CHIP is a bipartisan idea created by a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democratic president to cover America's uninsured children. And its success is a testament to the idea that, when our leaders stop pointing fingers, we can solve real problems for real people. So let's celebrate that success this Feb. 4 by thanking Senator Rockefeller for his leadership in protecting West Virginia kids and families from the worst effects of a bad economy.
Bruce Lesley, president
Old-young student mix will be a disaster
I've been following the articles in the newspaper about the plan by the Kanawha County Board of Education to combine alternative-education students -- high school and middle school -- at the former Chandler Elementary School. As a longtime employee in this school system, I write to express my concerns.
The physical structure of this facility, that is, multiple floors, will not be a sufficient barrier to safely separate students between the ages of approximately 11 and 19 years old. Additionally, I suspect these students will be transported by bus as this school is designed for all alternative education students of the county. Combining these students on a bus and/or facility at the same time will allow the older predators to victimize the lower-grade (younger) student. This is a very bad situation!