CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Democrats in the West Virginia State Senate called on their Republican colleagues to work with them to put state children and families first.
Democrats are concerned about House Bill 4092 which provides bills of rights for foster children and parents, plus increased support for child placement agencies, foster and kinship care families. They also challenged their Republican colleagues to move forward on House Bill 4543 which will cap insulin copays at $25 per month.
“Both bills passed the House of Delegates nearly unanimously, but have been languishing in Senate committees for several days,” said Senator Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier). “It’s time to put our money where our hearts are. Everyone says they want these bills, it’s time for us to take action.”
The Democratic Senators said that without the bills of rights, foster children and foster and kinship parents will continue to be neglected in the court system. They argued that fifteen states have a foster child bill of rights and seventeen states have a foster parent bill of rights.
Without increased funding, many children will continue to be bounced around without permanent placement. The Democrats suggested that the funding in the Senate version of the budget for an intermediate court of appeals would be better used to help children and families in the foster care system.
“All West Virginia children have a right to a home free from neglect and violence,” said Senator Ron Stollings, MD (D-Madison). “No child should wonder if they will have a warm place to sleep, adequate food, clothing and medical care. Each person who volunteers to provide care for a suffering child, be it kin or kindly stranger, should not face financial stress to do so.”
House Bill 4543 caps insulin prices at $25 per month for the health plans over which the state has authority, including PEIA, or for individuals who pay for their own, private insurance policies. The Democratic Senators said that Americans pay up to ten times more than Canadians for the same product, with the average price of insulin sold in the US having more than tripled since 2002.
“For the 255,695 West Virginians with diabetes, insulin is a life-saving drug,” said Senator John Unger (D-Berkeley). “More than 25% of patients in a Yale University study reported rationing insulin, which has led to needless suffering and several deaths around the United States. This bill could save families up to $10,000 per year and quite literally save lives.”
West Virginia Senate Democrats asked that Republican leaders in the State Senate join them to prioritize our people before corporations and pass House Bills 4092 and 4543. The Democratic Senators said that protecting vulnerable children and patients is vital to our state and puts West Virginians first.