MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former policymakers, academics, medical professionals and advocates say the 20-year-old Children’s Health Insurance Plan, whose federal funding expires next month, has been instrumental in extending health care to most children in West Virginia and nationally.

At a forum Thursday at West Virginia University, several predict Congress will extend it, though time is short and the Trump administration proposed reducing eligibility and state reimbursement rates.

It provides low-cost health coverage for children under 19 in working families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

Former West Virginia Gov. and U. S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who helped enact it in 1997, says there was strong bipartisan support because it was popular.

WVU political science professor Simon Haeder says 97 percent of West Virginia children and 95 percent nationally have coverage.

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