News that the Children's Health Insurance Program, a state program that helps low-income families obtain health insurance coverage for their children, has increased its enrollment this fall is both good news and bad.
The good news is that more children who actually need insurance will be getting it. West Virginia, according to state officials, is expected to cover health-care costs for more than 22,000 children of the working poor by this fall.
By July 1, 2002, enrollment had dropped to nearly 20,000, but that number has rebounded due to a poor economy and increased efforts to inform families about the program, said Executive Director Sharon Carte.
Carte also noted that more families at the upper end of the income scale for CHIP eligibility have begun enrolling their children.
More good news comes from the fact that the rise in enrollment and efforts to rein in costs have reduced the program's spending per child.
But the worrisome economy in West Virginia is a strong indication this program will be heavily relied upon in the future.
We're just glad this worthy program is working and is being fine tuned.
Officials estimate that 26,000 children could actually be enrolled in CHIP, and a pilot program is beginning at Marshall University that could help make that figure more attainable.
A government that looks after its most vulnerable citizens is a good one, and with the CHIP program, we have a reliable sign that the state is doing its homework to redress imbalances.