In a time of uncertainty for children’s health care accessibility and coverage, West Virginia University’s John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics partnered with the WVU Health Sciences Center and WVU Libraries to host a Children’s Health Policy Summit: Understanding the People, Place and Policy Behind Health Care. Held on September 7, 2017, at the Erickson Alumni Center, speakers and panelists discussed progress and challenges related to children’s access to quality, affordable health care and considered the future of health policy and delivery of care. Key note speakers included West Virginia native Sylvia Burwell, president of American University and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and former U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, a leader in state and federal health care policy for 40 years. In addition, the summit used Senator Rockefeller’s archives to reflect on lessons learned from the Children’s Health Insurance Program on the 20th anniversary year of the bipartisan, federal and state collaboration that provides health coverage to children in working families. The summit received financial support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Ware Family Foundation.
A Healthy Start: The Children’s Health Insurance Program is a 2017 exhibit that drew on Senator Jay Rockefeller's congressional archives to explore the history of CHIP on its 20th anniversary. It explored the Senator's work to navigate the conflicts and compromises in Congress that brought it to fruition and the real effects of policy on individuals. Senator Rockefeller was instrumental in creating CHIP and in forming a bipartisan coalition in Congress that backed the expansion of children's health care despite an inimical political climate. On August 5, 1997, President Bill Clinton signed CHIP into law, extending health coverage to millions of uninsured children with the largest federal investment in children health since the creation of Medicaid in 1965.