|Committed to affordable health care for all West Virginians... and doing something about it!|
The Medicaid Expansion Is Good for West Virginia
The largest event in West Virginia in support of expanding Medicaid will be held Sunday, April 7th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Christ Church United Methodist (located at 1221 Quarrier Street, East in Charleston). The forum and training is being sponsored by West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, Healthy Kids and Family Coalition, the West Virginia Council of Churches and 30 other religious, consumer, civic and labor organizations.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will decide in the next month or so whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If Governor Tomlin adopts the Medicaid expansion, an estimated 120,000 working low-income West Virginians will qualify for Medicaid coverage beginning January 1, 2014. The federal government will pay 100% of the expansion cost in 2014 through 2016. Their share slowly declines over the following four years, but never falls below 90%. At worst, West Virginia will receive $9 for every $1 we invest in covering our friends and neighbors. The current income eligibility is just under $6,000 for a family of three. Currently a single mother with two kids who earns $6,000 a year doesn’t qualify, because she makes too much. Her children qualify for Medicaid, but she does not. With the Medicaid expansion the income level goes from $6,000 a year to $26,300 a year. This is the greatest expansion in Medicaid 45-year history. You can read a one-page summary about the Medicaid expansion here.
In short, expanding Medicaid is a winning proposal for West Virginia. Please write Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and urge him to support the ACA’s Medicaid Expansion. His email address is Governor@wv.gov and his mailing address is State Capitol Complex, Charleston, West Virginia 25305.
Beginning October 1, 2013 we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to enroll perhaps 100,000 uninsured West Virginians into Medicaid and subsidized private insurance policies through the new health insurance marketplace. Come to the Enroll West Virginia conference and find out how we can improve the lives of so many of our friends and neighbors.
The conference will provide participants with a clear understanding of the new enrollment process and how they can assist people to enroll in Medicaid and private insurance policies in the health insurance marketplace. The registration fee is only $100, and there are scholarships available for individuals who cannot afford this modest registration fee.
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC) has developed a DVD with West Virginians telling their own stories about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted them and their small businesses. Faces of Reform in West Virginia was used in WVAHC’s successful training initiative. Over 200 people across the state were trained on the details of the Affordable Care Act. They in turn are educating 50 of their friends, neighbors and colleagues. WVAHC’s goal is to reach 10,000 West Virginians will solid, objective information on the Affordable Care Act. The more people know about the Affordable Care Act, the more they are supportive of it. WVAHC is interested in providing additional training sessions. If you know an organization that would bring together 20 people to be trained on the Affordable Care Act, contact Perry Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will schedule a session.
Historic National Health Care Reforms Adopted
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This historic piece of legislation has three basic goals: reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million; strengthen regulation of the insurance industry; and begin the difficult task of controlling health care costs, particularly for Medicare.
With the passage of the ACA almost all Americans will now enjoy the same fundamental rights to health care that citizens of every other developed nation enjoy.
As part of an extensive public education campaign, WVAHC has developed The Affordable Care Act: Moving Forward in West Virginia. This booklet providing consumers with details of the ACA and outlines recent regulations being adopted by the Obama Administration. The guide is an objective review of the major provision of the Act and its impact on West Virginia’s families and businesses. The foreword is written by Senator Jay Rockefeller.
Additionally, WVAHC has developed a series of other materials, including:
and a series of PowerPoint presentations that include:
In addition to these materials, WVAHC held a series of town meeting across West Virginia. These town meetings have allowed us to explain the provisions of the ACA and answer questions that people have about the reforms. It is that dialogue that is so important to helping people understand this complex public policy initiative. There have already been several town meetings -- in Parkersburg, Wheeling, Morgantown, Elkins, Shepherdstown, Beckley, Charleston and Huntington. WVAHC is working to schedule additional town meetings in Fairmont, Lewisburg, Clarksburg and Logan.
Help for Small Businesses
WVAHC recognizes the unique challenges that small businesses,
both for-profit and nonprofit, face. They struggle to provide their
employees health insurance coverage. Small businesses pay almost
20 percent more than larger employers for the same health insurance
plan. And insurance companies charge small businesses more for administrative
costs than they do for larger employers. The Affordable Care Act
provides both short- and long-term assistance to small businesses.
Small businesses, particularly very small businesses with one or
fewer employees that are paid low salaries, qualify for tax credits
this year. There are efforts to control the administrative costs
that insurance companies charge small businesses. Beginning in 2014,
small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance coverage
through the health exchanges. These market places for selling health
insurance should allow small businesses to purchase health insurance
in a simpler manner. The exchanges will promote competition and
lower costs. Finally, small businesses will have new protection
against huge premium increases because one or more of their employees
gets sick and uses their health insurance coverage.
WVAHC Director Perry Bryant is available to make presentations on the ACA and its impact on small businesses. Contact him at 304-344-1673 or email@example.com
Lower Costs Make for Higher Quality
The report, Lower Costs – Higher Quality, describes actions West Virginia can take to improve quality and contain costs in our health care system. This report is based on in-depth interviews conducted with thirty-three health care opinion leaders in West Virginia and is patterned on a national report prepared by the Commonwealth Fund. In the national report, heath care opinion leaders in high performing states found certain traits led to their state having a high performing health care system. These traits included:
Read what West Virginia health care leaders thought would led our state to become a high performing health care system: one with higher quality and lower costs by clicking .
Tell Us Your Story
Most of us already know that West Virginia is facing a health care crisis. Almost seventeen percent of West Virginians under the age 65 don't have health insurance of any kind. Thousands more are inadequately covered. But behind these numbers are real people with real stories, and each one of them is another reason why West Virginia needs real, meaningful reform. The Affordable Care Act instituted effective reform but it has been under attack even before it is fully implemented. That’s why West Virginians for Affordable Health Care wants to hear your stories. We want to hear from you and add your voice to the ever-growing number of people who are tired of the rising cost of premiums; overwhelming medical debt or being denied coverage because of a pre-existing conditions. Share your story today! Small business owners, patients/consumers, health care providers - everybody has a telling story. We want to hear from you! Tell us Your Story.
Health Insurance Exchanges: Better Quality with Costs Contained
Health Insurance exchanges are marketplaces where small businesses and individuals can shop for easy to understand insurance options. This one-stop shopping for health insurance holds the promise of controlling increases in costs and offering better value--for example, health insurance products with expanded wellness and chronic disease management programs.
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care has developed a four page summary, What Is an Exchange and How Will It Impact Small Businesses and Individuals, on the important decisions facing West Virginia as we begin the process of establishing our health exchanges. Families USA, a national health care research and consumer advocacy organization, has written a more extensive booklet, Implementing Health Insurance Exchanges: A Guide to State Activities and Choices. And the Commonwealth Fund as published Health Insurance Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act: Eight Difficult Issues. This report was written by Professor Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University School of Law, and is a leading national expert on health exchanges.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued a Request for Comments. In response, WVAHC drafted detail comments on who should govern the West Virginia exchange and outlining the mission of the exchange, which should be to promote the interest of consumers. These comments were endorsed by organizations representing nurses, teachers, organized labor, social workers,cancer survivors and consumes. You can read the detailed comments here.
2010 Health Care Reform Summit
The 2010 Growing Healthy Children Health Care Reform Summit held August 30-31, 2010 was a huge success. The Summit brought some of the most insightful experts on health care policy to Charleston, West Virginia.
Read the front page Charleston Gazette article about the Summit. Here are some of the presentations made at the Summit:
Early Deaths: West Virginians Have Some of the Shortest Life Expectancies in the United States
Virginians have life expectancies that are below the national average,
and southern West Virginians have some of the lowest life expectancies
in the country, particularly women. These are some of the findings
of a report issued in September, 2008 by West Virginians for Affordable
Health Care (WVAHC).