CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, President and CEO of United Health System Tom Jones, and CEO of Thomas Health Systems Steve Dexter, today announced the decision to expand Medicaid in West Virginia.
“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. Rockefeller said. “Gov. 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. Gov. Tomblin’s decision is based on the facts, and it’s a good decision for West Virginia families.”
“I appreciate Gov. 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.”