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WV Watching Final Countdown for Healthy Kids Plan

September 25, 2007

Charleston, WV – Health care for almost all West Virginia kids is coming down to the wire in Congress this week, as lawmakers are expected to approve a plan to extend children's health coverage, in spite of a threatened veto. Perry Bryant with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care says the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), now covers about 25,000 kids in the state. He believes the Congressional proposal could help as many as 4,000 to 5,000 more children gain health insurance coverage.

"Ninety-six percent of all children in West Virginia would either have public or private health insurance coverage, which is quite an accomplishment for a small, rural, poor state."

Bryant says children's healthcare is an investment that pays off in healthier kids, and lower medical costs down the road.

"It gets them started on the right track, long-term it will save healthcare expenditures, not cost healthcare expenditures, and we should do everything we can to provide universal healthcare for children."

West Virginia supporters are gathering this afternoon in Charleston to call on President Bush to support S-CHIP expansion. The President has said the plan in Congress goes beyond the scope of the original program, and would take business away from private insurers, although supporters of S-CHIP argue that the families affected can't afford private insurance to begin with.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WV