Health leaders across the state are urging lawmakers to continue funding the states children’s healthcare program also known as CHIP.
The deadline to renew funding is next month, putting the program in jeopardy.
Thursday night health leaders and people from the community gathered to discuss the impact of losing the program which has been around for 20 years.
“We have 97% of our children in West Virginia right now that have health insurance and a large part of that is Medicaid and CHIP,” Doris Selko said.
Selko is the deputy executive director for West Virginians For Affordable Healthcare. She said losing the program would have a significant impact on the state especially in Southern West Virginia. She added that the program also offers a great return on investment in the long run.
“They tend to do better in school they tend to do better in life so it’s one of those programs that been very cost effective for children and their society of,” Selko said.
The program is also vital because it helps with covering transportation costs.
“We service a population that they drive perhaps 70 miles you know from to come down from Pocahontas county for health care,” Dr. Celia McClay said.
Dr. Mclay practices medicine at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Greenbrier County.
A majority of her patients rely on the program’s transportation reimbursement benefit.
“If that kind of access went away they wouldn’t have access to health care there’s no public transportation thats going to bring them down.”
The deadline to renew funding is October 1, 2017