June 8, 2023 by Rhonda Rogombe
An Early Look at the End of Medicaid’s Public Health Emergency

West Virginia, alongside the rest of the nation, began rolling some residents off of Medicaid in April upon expiration of the three-year continuous coverage protection triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. The flexibilities implemented during that time helped keep many West Virginians healthy and economically stable. And while the federally-recognized COVID-19 public health…

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June 7, 2023 by Kelly Allen
Erosion of State Funding for Higher Education Explains Most of WVU’s Budget Crisis

West Virginia University is currently facing a $45 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, expected to balloon to $75 million annually by 2028. During this year’s State of the University address, WVU President Gordon Gee pointed to several factors driving the shortfall including declining college-aged population, lower college-going rates, and rising financial costs.…

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May 31, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
Jail Overcrowding Bill Goes Into Effect June 9, 2023

Throughout the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers spoke often about the ongoing state of emergency in West Virginia jails. To them, the crisis was the record-high staff vacancies within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR). But people behind bars have been living in a state of emergency for years. In the last decade, West Virginia…

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May 25, 2023 by Rhonda Rogombe
Black Infant and Maternal Mortality Must Be a Priority in West Virginia

Infants and birthing parents are dying at alarming rates in West Virginia. Infant and maternal mortality rates are essential statistics measuring overall societal health. In particular, the disparities in life outcomes between Black and white babies and mothers raise questions about health equity and the ability of our health care system to respond to both…

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May 19, 2023 by Seth DiStefano
Crisis in Volunteer Fire Department Funding Highlights Consequences of Budget Austerity 

In West Virginia over 95 percent of fire departments are staffed by volunteers or mostly volunteers. Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) protect 85 percent of the state’s population serving as the bedrock of first response across our state. Despite the clear need to keep these life-saving services available, VFDs have seen stagnant state funding that has failed…

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May 3, 2023 by Kelly Allen
Enacted PEIA Legislation Will Have Multi-year Impacts on Enrollees and State Budget

One of the most significant pieces of legislation passed in West Virginia this year was SB 268, which overhauled the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) to address the program’s solvency and preserve the provider network after years of state inaction following the 2018 teachers’ and service personnel strike and Governor Jim Justice’s promise to freeze…

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April 25, 2023 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Job Mismatch

The latest State Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed West Virginia had the highest job openings rate in the country, at 9.2 percent and with 71,000 job openings. While there has been much discussion about legislation to cut unemployment benefits in an attempt to "get people back…

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March 30, 2023 by Sara Whitaker
Mass Incarceration 2023: A Report from the Legislature

During the 2023 regular legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers introduced more than 300 bills related to the criminal legal system. Nearly half of those bills created new criminal offenses or increased penalties for existing crimes. To a Hammer, Every Problem is a Nail One trend that emerged was lawmakers’ penchant for believing that the criminal…

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March 28, 2023 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Economic Recovery Slowed in 2022

Every March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revises state labor force statistics. Each month, the state unemployment rate and other labor statistics are approximated based on a sample national survey, which is used to produce an estimate for West Virginia. When other data sources are revised (e.g., when the Census releases new population data), those…

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March 23, 2023 by Rhonda Rogombe
Health Policy, the Social Safety Net, and the 2023 Legislative Session

West Virginia has long faced significant health-related challenges, many of which could have been meaningfully addressed by bills introduced during the 2023 legislative session. Maternal and infant mortality rates continue to rise nationally, and the most recent pre-pandemic state data indicated that infant mortality in West Virginia outpaces the national rate.[1] Opioid overdose deaths continue to take the…

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