Rockefeller to stress insurance for kids in visit

May 28, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller will visit a local health clinic Friday to talk about the need to increase health insurance for children.

There are about 10 million children in the country and about 50,000 in West Virginia without health insurance, according to Rockefeller.

"Uninsured children don't get the health care they need. They don't have regular doctor visits. They don't get their immunizations," Rockefeller said. "As a result, health problems that could be prevented by a checkup or early treatment become more serious and more costly."


Rockefeller will be at the Shenandoah Valley Medical Center Friday morning to talk about legislation he helped introduce that would provide health care to about five million uninsured children in the country.

The Children's Health Insurance Provides Security Act would intensify outreach efforts to get 3 million children who are eligible for, but not enrolled in Medicaid, into the program. Some families are not aware that they are eligible for Medicaid, said Rockefeller spokesman Jim Whitney.

Rockefeller's proposal, which would cost $15 billion over five years, would also encourage states to expand eligibility to 2million children through the age of 18 whose families earn up to $24,000 annually.

David Fant, director of the Shenandoah Valley Medical Center on East Moler Avenue, said he is encouraged by Rockefeller's proposal. Most of the center's clients are women and children, and about a third of the clinic's patients do not have adequate health insurance, said Fant.

Fant said more children are going without adequate coverage because fewer employers are providing insurance for employees and because of changes in the Medicaid system.

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