Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on May 02, 2013 @ 6:52PM
Created on May 02, 2013 @ 11:45AM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia is heeding the call to expand Medicaid through the federal health care overhaul.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the decision Thursday. It follows a financial analysis that says that more than $5 billion in federal funds will pay for nearly all that additional coverage over the next decade.
But the state's share of the costs would increase by $375 million during that time.
The federal law calls on states to extend Medicaid to more low-income adults. Around 166,000 more West Virginians would qualify. The analysis estimates that 91,500 uninsured residents are likely to enroll.
West Virginia is joining 22 other states to expand. Fourteen states have decided against expansion.
Tomblin also plans to pursue cost controls through managed care for some Medicaid services and co-payments for others.
"We anticipate expansion will allow us to provide insurance coverage to approximately 91,500 working West Virginians, significantly reducing the number of uninsured," Gov. Tomblin said. "A decision to expand today, however, does not end our efforts. We must carefully watch federal efforts. If the program becomes unsustainable, particularly after three years, or the federal government changes its promised funding allocations, we must be prepared to take action to protect our State.
"One out of every four West Virginians -- not strangers, but the men, women and children we know from the playground, church, or the grocery store -- still do not have health insurance," Sen. Jay Rockefeller said. "Governor Tomblin has been working hard to close that gap because it affects everyone in this state in some way. And today I am so proud to stand with him to announce this enormous step forward. With the Governor's careful stewardship of our state budget, and the courage of his convictions, he is joining 22 other governors across the country plus the District of Columbia to help put an end to the uninsured. Medicaid is a lifeline for so many West Virginia families. It's affordable and efficient. It creates jobs and increases wages. Currently a quarter of West Virginians count on it. And by helping uninsured families get coverage, we reduce health care costs for everyone else. West Virginians deserve nothing less. Governor Tomblin's decision is based on the facts, and it's a good decision for West Virginia families."
"I appreciate Governor Tomblin's thorough evaluation of what he believes expanding Medicaid will mean to West Virginia," Sen. Manchin said. "I respect and support his decision to go ahead with expansion in a way that is tailored to West Virginia. I will do everything I can at the federal level to make sure he has all the flexibility he needs to make this program work in a fiscally responsible way for the benefit of the West Virginians it is intended to help."
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May 02, 2013 at 3:49 PM
Really? I don't think anyone in WV is shocked that Governor Tomblin-DEMOCRAT and Senator Manchin--DEMOCRAT always agree with Obama!! Get ready WV---the poor are going to get poorer and the middle class will be the new poverty class as taxes will SKYROCKET to pay for this extra $375 MILLION dollars it will cost WV!