Governor Earl Ray Tomblin may make a decision about the possible expansion of Medicaid in West Virginia some time this summer.

Officials with the Tomblin Administration say a new work plan is now in place for the company that is conducting a comprehensive study of the effects of that expansion on the Mountain State.

The report could be completed next month.

“The national figures that were out there tended to be inconsistent.  They weren’t the kind of data that I would have felt comfortable with the Governor making a decision on,” West Virginians for Affordable Health Care Executive Director Perry Bryant said of the need for the ongoing actuarial analysis.

“It’s taking a little longer than I would like but, still, the process was very thoughtful and deliberative.”  Bryant’s group supports the expansion which would take Medicaid eligibility from the current 130% of the poverty level to 138% of the poverty level.

The change could potentially add 120,000 low income West Virginians to the 415,000 who currently qualify for Medicaid coverage.  With the expansion, individuals making up to $15,000 a year would qualify.

Critics of the possible expansion of Medicaid say the state cannot afford it.  At the current coverage levels, West Virginia’s share of Medicaid, which is now at $870 million annually, will grow to $900 million next year and even more in the coming years.

As proposed, the federal government would pay for 100% of the added costs of Medicaid expansion through 2017, but reduce that contribution to 90% by 2020.  There are concerns the federal subsidy of the expansion would decrease even more in subsequent years.

A report from Avalere Health, a health care public policy company, shows West Virginia is the only state that has not indicated its plans for Medicaid at this point.

As of earlier this week, 20 states and Washington, D.C. had decided to expand.

There is no formal deadline for a decision, but applications could start being accepted from new Medicaid recipients on October 1st of this year with coverage beginning on January 1st.

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states are allowed to decide, on their own, whether to expand Medicaid programs under provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act.

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Comments

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  • dudenuna

    ATTN: Gov Tomblin:

    We know better than to trust our government when it comes to promises...RIGHT? DUH...do not expand Medicaid. Obama will continue to increase Medicaid patients and we will go bankrupt.

  • dudenuna

    After all the lies Obama and his department heads have told us in his second term, especially, what makes you think they will keep their end of the bargain and pay their share of the costs of Medicaid?*** I WOULD MAKE NO COMMITMENTS REGARDING MONEY BASED ON PROMISES OF THE OBAMA ADMIN!!!.

  • hangman

    The State better get it together, because a great deal of us can't affort "O" bama Care, so we will be signing up for medicaid, Health Care will more the double by the end of the year, remember we were going save $ 2500. per year and Rock-A- Failure, thinks it is the greatest thing since slice bread. You ask why the State will spend over a million dollars to study this problem, it is pay back time for those supported the Gov.. "You need to be careful who you vote for, they might just win"

  • wvtd

    what a huge disaster Obama care is. another bad idea shoved down our throats by the far left liberal fanatics.

  • Keefe

    We have enough taxes I get sick of hearing more taxes to cover the Government funded welfare system. If you want to pick on smokers how about mentioning the drug users and Aides and sexual disease spreaders.The out of wedlock baby factories. How much does that cost us. I do not hear any of that. It is always the Smokers, because they can not tax these other individuals for anything. It is just about taxes. No taxes and keep the Government out of the health care.

  • susanf1218

    Why in the hell does the state need to spend almost a million dollars to "study" whether or not to expand this program?? It already consumes a huge portion of the state budget and the governor has ordered other areas of state government to cut their budgets by as much as 7.5% in order to cover the costs of Medicaid! If the state can't afford it now, how could we afford to expand it to cover even more people?? The answer, of course, is to increase taxes on the people of WV who work and PAY for their own health insurance and who will be expected to also subsidize the cost for the Medicaid recipients. Funny how Governor Tomblin was so opposed to increasing cigarette taxes, even though smokers are likely to use more health care dollars AND I would guess that a large portion of the Medicaid recipients are also smokers. If the tax on cigarettes was increased and that money was targeted to helping offset the cost of Medicaid, at least they would be paying a portion of their costs and shifting some of the burden off of the backs of the rest of us. But the ultimate answer should be a resounding NO to increasing the Medicaid Program!!

  • CaptainQ

    What is Earl Ray waiting on?

    He may as well accept the 'deal' the Obama Administration is offering. Sure, WV can't afford the additional costs but really, what state in the union actually can? I'm certain the ruling Democratic Party junta in Charleston will be able to 'create' some new taxes to help cover the costs, Perhaps they'll unveil a new payroll tax to solve the problem, the same way the state did back in the late 80's/early 90's to cover the shortage in WV's Unemployment Insurance fund.

    If there's one thing our lawmakers in WV are EXTREMELY good at is raising/creating taxes.

    C'mon Governor Tomblin, sign the commitment papers already! Senator Joe Manchin's no longer fears the wrath of the voters, why should you?

    • Wowbagger

      Captain,

      You might recall I predicted in 2008 that Obama would turn West Virginia Republican or at least destroy the Democrat virtual lock on the state that began in 1932. I might be wrong, but I contend it is happening and stand on my prediction. 2014 just might be the year!