West Virginia Gov.-Elect Vows to Provide Coverage to all State’s Children
At a Nov. 29 forum on children's issues, West Virginia Gov.-elect Bob Wise (D) vowed to keep his campaign promise of providing health care for all children in the state, the Associated Press reports. Wise told the Coalition for West Virginia's Children, which sponsored the event, that he would work to expand coverage to more children through Medicaid or the CHIP program. "We will be aggressive in our outreach of [CHIP]. There will not be an uninsured child left in this state," Wise said. He added that the CHIP program could benefit small businesses unable to offer coverage to families since it would cover the costs of children's health care. "We can tell them, you take care of the employees. We'll take care of the children," Wise said. He also noted that West Virginia needs to examine "whether it's making the best use of welfare money." During his gubernatorial campaign, Wise criticized Gov. Cecil Underwood (R) for "mismanag[ing]" the CHIP program because the state failed to use about $10.5 million of its first-year federal allocation. Democratic legislators who crafted the bill enacting the program in West Virginia "have long been critical" of delays in enrolling children, expanding the program and installing its computer system. But Wise no longer plans to focus on the program's past, instead saying, "It's time to move forward" (Coleman, Associated Press, 11/29). More information on West Virginia's CHIP plan is available from HCFA at http://www.hcfa.gov/init/chpa-map.htm.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.