More than 25 organizations representing thousands of West Virginians have written to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., urging her to work in a bipartisan manner to preserve health care for West Virginians.
As a group, we worked hard this year to defeat Republican bills that would have taken health care away from more than 20 million Americans and more than 200,000 West Virginians. We were relieved when these bills failed to pass. We were grateful that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., never wavered in his opposition to these harmful bills and encouraged by Sen. Capito’s public statements such as:
“I did not come to Washington to hurt people. For months, I have expressed reservations about the direction of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
Looking ahead, we see opportunities for bipartisan approaches to achieving our shared goals of quality, affordable coverage for all West Virginians.
Medicaid is a life-line for more than 600,000 West Virginians
— including children, lower income working adults, seniors, people with disabilities, and people who need long-term care and services. In calendar year 2016, 76 percent of the children in our state relied on Medicaid to help pay for needed health services. More than half of all nursing home and home-based and community-based long-term care is paid for by Medicaid.
We are concerned that Medicaid continues to be threatened by proposed significant cuts in the president’s budget and the House of Representatives budget.
The 2018 state budget fills the Medicaid budget with $60 million in one-time state dollars. This is unsustainable. We do not expect that, at any time in the future, the state will have the revenue to absorb federal Medicaid cuts. For better or worse, we are dependent on the federal government to protect West Virginians’ health. As a state which has sacrificed its people to mine the nation’s coal and has sent a higher proportion of its young men and women to serve in the nation’s wars than many other states, we are not apologetic for needing federal support at this time in our state’s history
To be clear, cuts in federal funding will translate into cuts to eligibility and to health care services, and cuts to provider reimbursement rates. We are deeply concerned about what these cuts will mean for Medicaid benefciaries, our rural health infrastructure and jobs.