On Thursday, SB 648, which would provide for dental benefits for 300,000+ adults who rely on Medicaid, passed the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee. West Virginia is an outlier in not covering this critical health care provision, with 35 states offering more dental benefits under adult Medicaid than West Virginia. Read more about how providing dental benefits would impact West Virginians here.
In committee, Senators and medical experts lifted up the importance of dental benefits in improving overall health, managing chronic conditions, and reducing emergency room utilization. Next, the bill goes to Senate Finance, and according to the legislative calendar, must be passed out of committee by February 23 in order to keep moving.
Call to action: Contact members of Senate Finance and ask them to put SB 648 on the agenda.
Other good health bills introduced and could use your support:
HB 4416 extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year is inHouse Finance
SB 543 to establish a Minority Health Advisory Team is in Senate Health and Human Resources
HB 4189, paid parental leave for state employees and public school teachers, is in House Finance.
With the 2020 Legislative Session well past its half-way mark, we are closely monitoring bills and resolutions, like SJR 8, which would provide tax cuts to corporations while the rest of us pick up the tab. To pay for this tax cut, legislators are proposing an increase to the sales tax, among other measures.
Our personal income and sales taxes already provide 70% of the revenue that makes up the state budget. Working West Virginians already pay their fair share.
In fact, an important new study finds that West Virginia spends among the highest per capita of all states on business tax incentives, despite a lack of evidence that firm-specific tax incentives increase broader economic growth at the state and local level.
Governor Jim Justice’s FY 2021 budget is largely unchanged from FY 2020, with stagnating revenues preventing any major new spending and one-time budget maneuvers preventing any spending cuts. While the FY 2021 budget is stable because of a large surplus in Medicaid, the state faces significant budget gaps in the coming years that may require more revenue if the state wants to avoid large cuts to important programs and services.
Read Sean’s full report released yesterday.
This week, Kelly Allen became the WVCBP’s new Interim Deputy Director. Kelly will help guide the organization over the upcoming year. She will continue to maintain her role as our Director of Policy Engagement, as well, wearing both hats and keeping our health care agenda and other important work moving forward.
The WVCBP is proud to partner with Our Future West Virginia, formerly known as the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and Our Children Our Future.
This week they publicly kicked off their new logo and website.
The impactful work of the Our Future West Virginia staff goes far beyond the state’s border, illustrated by staffer Amy Jo’s recent testimony before Congress. Her words have sparked national reaction and are helping to change the way our leaders talk about poverty.
If you haven’t listened to it yet, please do. It will inspire you.
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!
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