Blog Posts > Opinion: Health Policy, the Social Safety Net, and the 2023 Legislative Session
March 24, 2023

Opinion: Health Policy, the Social Safety Net, and the 2023 Legislative Session

Morgan Messenger – 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. While a couple of positive health-focused bills were passed by the legislature this year, unfortunately lawmakers focused much of their attention on health-related policies based on fear—not facts.

Read the full op-ed.

Two bills that aim to improve health outcomes in the state passed this legislative session, but one has yet to be signed into law. SB 577, which awaits the Governor’s signature, addresses insulin costs for West Virginians with private insurance, lowering copay caps for a 30-day supply from $100 to $35. Meanwhile, the Governor has already signed SB 89 into law. This bill sets higher treatment standards for victims of sexual assault in hospitals. It requires hospitals to have a qualified sexual assault nurse examiner on staff. A transfer agreement with another hospital is needed if they do not have this staff. It also codifies time frames for submitting test kits to local law enforcement and storage protocol. As a whole, the legislation addresses barriers that negatively impact crucial care for people who have experienced sexual assault and is a positive step forward.

Several additional bills (including HB 3274SB 269SB 479SB 489, and HB 3014) sought to improve health outcomes in the Mountain State, but did not pass.

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