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W. Virginia will expand Medicaid

UPDATE 5/2/13 @ 11:15 a.m.
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.

“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.

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.

“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.

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.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 5/2/13
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has decided whether West Virginia should expand Medicaid through the federal health care law.
Tomblin is unveiling the state’s plans Thursday at St. Francis Hospital in Charleston. U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and hospital executives are scheduled to join him.

The Democratic governor is basing his decision on a financial analysis of the potential benefits and pitfalls of expansion. The state already is struggling with Medicaid costs. But federal funds would cover new enrollees almost entirely.

Both supporters and foes of the federal overhaul believe the governor will expand Medicaid. The federal law calls on states to cover more low-income adults through Medicaid. About 166,000 more West Virginians would qualify.

While 22 states so far plan to expand Medicaid, another 14 have decided against it.

ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia officials are ready to say whether the state will expand Medicaid, as allowed by the federal health care law.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin plans to announce his decision Thursday at St. Francis Hospital in Charleston. He will be joined by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and several hospital chief executives.

The federal health care law calls on states to cover more low-income adults through Medicaid.

About 166,000 more West Virginians would qualify. But the U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding the law, ruled that states can’t lose federal funds if they don’t go ahead with an expansion.

Fourteen states have rejected expansion, while 22 say they will expand.

The Democratic governor is basing his decision on a financial analysis of the potential benefits and pitfalls of expansion. The state is already struggling with Medicaid costs. But federal funds would mostly cover expansion.

Source: Associated Press

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