Blog Posts > Health Bills Moving Through Committees
February 7, 2020

Health Bills Moving Through Committees

Insulin Copay Caps HB 4543, a proposal to cap the costs of insulin for diabetic West Virginians on private insurance, passed through the House Banking and Insurance and the House Judiciary Committees this week and now goes to the full House! The caps are a positive step forward in addressing the rising costs of insulin and prescription drugs.

Paid Parental Leave HB 4189 would provide paid time off for public and state employees for bonding time after the birth or adoption of a child. Initially, the bill also covered paid leave for workers who need time off for caregiving responsibilities for a seriously ill family member, but that provision was dropped due to cost concerns. The bill passed out of House Judiciary on Thursday and will be considered next in House Finance. While a positive step, we hope lawmakers will consider the importance of paid leave for caregiving, as well as the worker’s own illness, and the need for paid leave for all workers, not just those in the public sector.

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Medicaid Work Reporting Requirements HB 4018 is a proposal to implement onerous work reporting requirements on adults who rely on Medicaid. In reality, these proposals do nothing to promote work and often trip up adults who are already working or who meet an exemption category because of the paperwork burdens. Under a similar program in Arkansas, 23 percent of the targeted population lost coverage. If we saw similar losses under this bill, 46,000 West Virginians would be kicked off Medicaid, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding lost.

Fortunately, the bill was pulled from the House Health agenda and not considered. Stay tuned for action alerts if this bill comes back up. Thanks to everyone who has contacted their legislators to express their concerns on this bill.

Other good health bills introduced and could use a nudge:
SB 648 to provide dental benefits to adults on Medicaid is currently in Senate Health and Human Resources

HB 4416 extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year is in House Finance

SB 543 to establish a Minority Health Advisory Team is in Senate Health and Human Resources


Corporate Tax Cut Would Directly Harm Public Schools

The WV Senate is considering more corporate tax cuts this year, including  SJR 8 that would cut local funding to schools.

If you live in a county that passed an excess levy to fund schools, your child’s education is being threatened.

This bill would cut $35 million from local schools with no way of paying for it. Our schools and our education system need investment from everyone, both residents and businesses included.

Please contact your senators and ask them to put our kids ahead of corporations.

A Fair Transition for Coal Communities

On Wednesday, February 5, WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner presented at Leaving No One Behind: Ensuring a Fair Transition for Workers and Communities. View his presentation here.

The event was sponsored by the West Virginia Center on Climate Change, the WVU College of Law Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, and the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.

The keynote for the event was Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics, Brookings Institution. View her presentation here.

Photo credit: Doug Imbrogno.

Governor Pledges $1 Million to Support Accurate 2020 Census Count

This week, Governor Justice promised $1 million to help ensure a complete count of West Virginia’s population in the 2020 census.

Last fall, the governor created a census committee, largely at the urging of the Count Me In WV coalition, to address the importance of an accurate census for West Virginia’s ability to draw down money for important federal programs. Last summer, WVCBP board president Jennifer Wells and WVCBP Director of Policy Engagement Kelly Allen penned this op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail to lay out the important reasons for this funding and for an accurate and inclusive census count. In addition, the Count Me In WV Coalition was formed and is lead by Our Future West Virginia.

Just a one-percent undercount would cost West Virginia over $188 million in funding for just five HHS programs whose funds are guided by Census data (Medicaid, Medicare Part D, CHIP, Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, and Child Care and Development Fund Matching Funds).
We applaud this dedication of state funds to this important effort!

Attracting Immigrants to State Could Ease Population Decline

This week Senior Policy Analyst Sean O’Leary appeared on WV PBS to discuss West Virginia’s immigrant population.

He stated that “immigration could help solve West Virginia’s population decline problem, which would help worker shortages like West Virginia is facing in the direct care workforce” and that will our immigrant population remains low (1.6 percent of our population), since 2001. one in five new West Virginians has been an immigrant.

Listen to Sean’s interview here.

Read our most recent State of Working West Virginia report which explores West Virginia’s immigrant history.

Summer Policy Institute Attendees Take Their Issue to the Capitol

Check out Summer Policy Institute Alums Edith Martinez and Jennifer Kayrouz representing at Undergraduate Research day at the Capitol.

Edith and Jennifer, along with SPI alums Ranya Momen and Katissa Bjorkgren, were the winners of this year’s SPI policy proposal contest which was to expand Senate Bill 1 from the 2019 Legislative Session to allow for incarcerated persons access to community college classes at no cost.

Way to go!

Speaking of the Summer Policy Institute….

Registration is now open for this year’s Summer Policy Institute! Join us at Fairmont State University this July for a great weekend of policy discussion and networking!

Register here

Work With Us This Summer!

We are looking for a research associate for the summer of 2020. Our summer research associate will work closely with WVCBP staff, coalition partners, and other stakeholders to collect and analyze data to provide evidence-based solutions, policies, and practices surrounding issues that impact low- and moderate-income West Virginians.

Read more here.

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February 12: Compassion Calls Us 

 More info here.


February 22: Red for Ed Celebration Celebrate the two-year anniversary of the 2018 WV Teacher and Service Personnel strike. Hear and share stories about the strike, and listen to a very special guest, Diane Ravitch discuss her new book, Slaying Goliath, and the impact our strike made on her and the nation!  More information here. (This event is co-sponsored by AFT-WV, WVEA, WVSSPA, The WV Center on Budget and Policy, and Taylor Books).

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