Governor Justice signed HB 2526 into law this week. Rather than utilizing state revenues to create shared prosperity by investing in programs and services that benefit all West Virginians, HB 2526 enacts permanent tax cuts that undermine public investments and further rig our tax system for the wealthy. Nearly two out of every three dollars of the legislation’s personal income tax cuts go to the top 20 percent of households, while the other tax provisions blatantly override the will of West Virginia voters by enacting a workaround of rejected Amendment 2 business tax cuts.
Just like with previous tax cut efforts, lawmakers prioritized pursuit of a better business climate ranking–which itself has little do with the realities of doing business–rather than investing in the families and workers who already call West Virginia home. This legislation will undermine investments in our schools, health care, and infrastructure. In fact, it’s already having negative impacts on public investments. For four years, lawmakers have prioritized flat, austerity budgets that have resulted in a public employees’ insurance crisis, crisis-level public agency vacancies, and unacceptable levels of child poverty and children in foster care. While lawmakers touted “surpluses” as evidence of the state’s strong economy, numerous bills and budget requests for funding for services that would help families and workers were denied or altogether ignored.
Finally, the surpluses supposedly justifying these tax cuts are a house of cards that is about to fall. These permanent tax cuts for the wealthy rely on underfunded public services, temporarily high energy prices, and one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding. When these factors subside, state lawmakers will find themselves in an untenable situation, forced to either further slash a budget that’s already been cut to the bone or raise other taxes–usually sales and property taxes, which hit poorer workers, families, and communities harder than wealthier ones.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government passed legislation to help families and health care providers amid an unprecedented health and economic crisis. Among the provisions, states were required to keep people who receive health insurance via Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continuously enrolled in the programs in exchange for enhanced federal funding. This provision has helped cover more than 650,000 West Virginians throughout the pandemic.
In December 2022, Congress passed legislation phasing down the emergency enrollment provisions. Starting in April 2023, Medicaid will return to pre-pandemic eligibility requirements. Over the next year, the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) will redetermine eligibility for all Medicaid and CHIP enrollees. Some will lose coverage because, while they were eligible when they enrolled, their group income now exceeds the threshold. Others are at risk of losing their coverage even though they are still eligible. Several other health insurance options exist for families no longer eligible. Additionally, many resources are available to ensure those who qualify to stay enrolled in Medicaid.
Here are four things you need to know regarding the upcoming changes to Medicaid:
For all the details, read Rhonda’s full blog post. Please note, additional resources are included at the end of this blog to help people take action to maintain access to health care.
The WVCBP seeks to learn how the changes to Medicaid impact people in real-time. The Center will conduct surveys and interviews, go through the renewal process alongside selected individuals, and pay them for their time. Providers and health care advocates are also encouraged to share their perspectives. To participate, please follow this link, email Rhonda Rogombe, or text or call her at (304)-873-6222. She looks forward to hearing from you soon!
After three years of pandemic provisions, Medicaid’s public health emergency ends April 1, which means the state will begin to roll people off of Medicaid if they’re deemed ineligible.
What does this change mean for enrollees? What do folks need to know? How can you help?
We’ll answer these questions and more at our upcoming webinar. Join us Tuesday, March 28 at 6pm.
Learn more and RSVP here.
The Summer Policy Institute brings together highly qualified traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students, graduate students, and policy-curious people of all ages to build policy knowledge, leadership skills, and networks.
SPI attendees participate in interactive sessions where they learn the ins and outs of policy change through a research and data lens, as well as crucial skills rooted in community engagement and grassroots mobilization. Attendees will meet West Virginia leaders from government, non-profit advocacy, and grassroots organizing spaces to build relationships and networks.
Throughout the convening, participants work in small teams to identify and develop policy proposals to shape the future they want to see in the Mountain State, culminating in team “policy pitches” to community leaders. Sessions will equip participants to focus on defining the problem as an essential first step before progressing to proposing solutions.
After three years of virtual SPI, we’re excited to announce that we will be returning to an in-person format for SPI 2023! The event will take place at Fairmont State University from July 28-30.
There is no cost to attend, and students can work with professors to receive course credit. It is required that participants attend all sessions during the three-day convening.
For more information, please see our event landing page.
The WVCBP’s Elevating the Medicaid Enrollment Experience (EMEE) Voices Project seeks to collect stories from West Virginians who have struggled to access Medicaid across the state. Being conducted in partnership with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, EMEE Voices will gather insight to inform which Medicaid barriers are most pertinent to West Virginians, specifically people of color.
Do you have a Medicaid experience to share? We’d appreciate your insight. Just fill out the contact form on this webpage and we’ll reach out to you soon. We look forward to learning from you!
You can watch WVCBP’s health policy analyst Rhonda Rogombé and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care’s Mariah Plante further break down the project and its goals in this FB Live.
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