Congress has yet to re-authorize the children’s health insurance program, also called CHIP.
On February 28th West Virginia families who are insured through the program will no longer have coverage for their kids.
Amy Hutchison, a working single mother from Wheeling, said she plans to go before Congress and tell her story. She wants to make sure her daughters Grace and Mikayla can go to the doctor when they’re sick.
“So I’m going to be faced with the choice of just not having insurance for my family, or there are a lot of us that are going to be forced to quit our jobs, you know and that’s not what anyone wants you know working people who don’t want to quit their jobs because they can’t afford to live,” Hutchison said.
About 20 years ago, Congress created the federal program CHIP for working families who can’t afford insurance through the private marketplace.
For Amy CHIP is peace of mind. “My oldest when she was an infant she was blind in her left eye, and so CHIP allows me to be able to make sure that she can go to those follow up appointments with her opthamalogist her dentist, my kids get dentist check-ups,” she said.
Currently CHIP insures 9 million kids across the country, and 37,000 in West Virginia.
In her role with Our Children Our Future, Amy said she’s heard countless stories of the way CHIP helps local families.
“I spoke with a family the husband is a truck driver he has been for years, but her child is a type 1 diabetic and his insulin costs over $3,000 a month, they don’t know what they’re going to do if their child loses insurance,” she said.
Amy is invited to speak by an organization called First Focus, and her daughters have been invited too. They also plan to share a message with Congress.
“We don’t deserve to just have this stuff taken away from us because everyone gets sick. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or how poor you are, you get sick, it’s just a person,” Grace said.
Amy said many of the families she spoke with are unaware that funding will potentially be stopped in February. She is hoping Congress decides to re-authorize the funding.
Amy will speak before Congress from 10 until 11:30 Tuesday.
She asks anyone who believes Congress should re-authorize CHIP for working families to please call their Congressmen and women.