April 16, 2015

A little good news from Congress (no, really)

It doesn't happen very often but the US Congress recently acted in a bipartisan way and did something that made sense. The US Senate overwhelming passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which among other things extends funding for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program through 2017. There were concerns that this program would have withered away.

CHIP was first enacted in the wake of welfare reform in the 90s to make sure that kids of working families didn't lose coverage if their parents moved from welfare to work. It has proved to be hugely popular and successful. In fact, West Virginia is one of the major CHIP success stories. The program here covers children in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

The bill also authorized funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which is also a big deal and a very good thing. A similar bill passed the House by a huge margin earlier. I'm pleased-and a little surprised-that all of WV's congressional delegation, which ain't what it used to be, voted for the measure.

So, yeah, it's not all bad.

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