Doris Selko, the Southern Regional Coordinator for the advocacy group West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare, is worried and rightly so. Every year, West Virginia has trimmed the state budget, and she is concerned that an already bare bones program could suffer further cuts.
Selko talked about the program at a Wyoming County Commission meeting in an informational presentation, according to The Pineville WV Independent Herald article, “WVAHC hoping to preserve Medicaid.”
What did she have to say?
Selko noted that Medicaid funding helps keep clinics and pharmacies going in the area. According to Selko, more than 170,000 West Virginians have been enrolled in Medicaid since January 2014—the majority of whom weren’t previously insured.
She commented that more than 60% of Medicaid recipients have a job and that they’re people who work in food service, janitorial service, healthcare and other small businesses that haven’t been able to provide insurance for their employees.
There were more than 5,000 veterans who became eligible for Medicaid in January 2014.
Medicaid spent $16.6 million in West Virginia, and 8,643 residents (36%) receive health and long-term benefits through the program. It’s a statewide federal program with $3 in federal spending for every $1 by the state.
Of those in Wyoming County who participate, 6,107 are eligible because their income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. Another 2,536 are eligible for Medicaid because they are low income elderly persons and/or have a physical or mental disability.
Selko noted that she expects the state Legislature to consider Medicaid cuts in the next budget and that even a small cut would make a big difference to the many West Virginians who depend upon Medicaid.
Reference: The Pineville WV Independent Herald (July 26, 2016) “WVAHC hoping to preserve Medicaid”