The West Virginia Democrat may have been born to wealth, but he made federal efforts to ensure health coverage for the poor his mission.
Kaiser Health News: Voice For Medicare, Medicaid Retiring
Sen. John D. Rockefeller's announcement Friday that he would not seek a sixth term in 2014 will leave the poor, elderly and disabled without one of their strongest advocates on Capitol Hill. Rockefeller played a leading role in 1997 in creating the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which serves nearly 8 million children nationwide, including 40,000 in his home state of West Virginia. He has been a fierce protector not only of CHIP, but also of the federal entitlement programs Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health care coverage to tens of millions of people (Carey, 1/11).
The Hill: Colleagues Say Sen. Rockefeller Will Be Missed On Health Care Issues
With the retirement of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), the left -- not to mention the Senate -- is losing one of its biggest voices on health care. Rockefeller announced Friday that he won't run for reelection in 2014, when his current term ends. Colleagues and allies praised his long record of pushing for universal health care coverage, as well as his aggressive defense of Medicaid (Baker, 1/11).
CQ HealthBeat: Rockefeller To Retire: Championed CHIP, Medicaid
For years, let anyone suggest that maybe one way to save on health care costs would be to scale back Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program and Sen. Jay Rockefeller has stood in their way. ... In a news release Rockefeller put out announcing his retirement, when he listed his most proud accomplishments, health policy topped the list, specifying his championing of CHIP and the health care overhaul law (Bunis, 1/11).
Politico Pro: Health Care For The Poor Centerpiece Of Rockefeller's Career
Sen. Jay Rockefeller's family name may evoke images of wealth, but when he retires at the end of this term, he'll be remembered as one of the Senate's most ardent advocates for the poor and the sick in his adopted home state of West Virginia and beyond. Few have fought harder for government programs that provide low-income Americans with health coverage than Rockefeller, who announced Friday that he would not seek reelection. From his role on the Pepper Commission on uninsurance and long-term care, to his work on behalf of President Bill Clinton's failed health reform effort, to helping to pass the State Children's Health Insurance Program, to placing limits on insurers' overhead spending in President Barack Obama's health care law, expanding access to health insurance has long been his cause (Cunningham, 1/11).